TWO hero cops have been presented with a prestigious bravery award after rescuing a woman from a freezing and swollen stream in Oswaldtwistle.
The William Garnett Cup was donated in 1930 by the late Alderman William Garnett in memory of his father and is awarded annually to the police officer or officers who has performed the most gallant deed of the year.
This year PC James Saddoo and PC Victoria Wilson claimed the title for their efforts at Tinker Brook last December when they helped a woman who was left clinging to a branch in the water.
She later told police that she had been burying a goldfish on the river bank but had slipped and fallen into the brook as she tried to rescue her dog from the water.
Her dog managed to clamber out of the brook but the woman, who was not local, became trapped in the fast-flowing torrent. She desperately clung onto a branch until a nearby resident spotted the distressed woman and called the police.
As soon as they arrived on the scene, PC Saddoo waded into the water, supported only by a rope tied to his waist, and he was guided by PC Wilson.
A police spokesman said: "The water reached PC Saddoo's shoulders and he was struggling to stay on his feet. He summoned up all his strength and managed to reach the stricken woman and then get her clear out of the water.
"She was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital where she was treated for hypothermia and kept in overnight for observations."
Just 20 yards downstream from the rescue, the brook tumbles 10 feet into a narrow gulley with tall and vertical banks. If the woman had lost her grip, and if PC Saddoo and PC Wilson had not reacted as quickly as they did, it seems likely the woman would have drowned.
Chairman of the Lancashire Police Authority, Councillor Malcolm Doherty, congratulated the two officers, saying they had shown selfless bravery.
He added: "Their highly courageous actions in a very dangerous situation helped save a life and they should take pride in this.
"The authority is very proud that they are Lancashire officers and I am pleased to see them receive this award which they richly deserve."