Life-saver award for river rescue

Keighley News: Derek Rymell pictured receiving his certificate from Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling Derek Rymell pictured receiving his certificate from Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling

A Keighley hero who rescued a man from the River Worth has received an award for his courage.

Derek Rymell, 45, was presented with a framed certificate from the fire service.

He was walking home one evening with some shopping when he decided to follow a route along the riverbank.

When he reached the river, close to where it passes Park Lane, he saw a man floating face down in the water, struggling to keep his face above the surface.

He said: “It was quite a steep climb down to the river where I was, but I managed to get down on to some rocks.

“I was able to reach out and pull him to the bank, though there wasn’t enough space to get him out completely and his legs were still partly in the water.

“I’d called 999 on my mobile, and after that I was just trying to keep the man warm and awake. He was extremely cold and I don’t think he’d have lasted much longer if I hadn’t seen him.

“I’m not sure how long I waited before the fire and ambulance people arrived. Time distorts when you deal with something like that. It seemed longer than it probably was.”

Although the victim was suffering from hypothermia, he made a full recovery.

Mr Rymell is among a number of people from the county who have been formally honoured by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service. They each received a chief fire officer’s commendation for their life-saving actions at a ceremony at the service’s headquarters in Birkenshaw.

West Yorkshire chief fire officer Simon Pilling said: “I am incredibly proud to recognise these people for their bravery in what were very high-pressure situations. They all did remarkably well to stay calm and their actions undoubtedly saved the lives of others.”

Mr Rymell said: “It may sound a bit cliched, but what I did was really no different to what anybody else would have done in the same situation. Of course it was good to receive this sort of award.

“And it was nice to meet others who were involved in saving lives.”

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