Royal Humane Society award for brave volunteer bailiff who helped save driver from drowning in overturned car

An Angling Trust volunteer bailiff has received a Royal Humane Society award for his role in saving the life of a young driver whose car left the road and overturned into a water-filled ditch.

David McCreath, from Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, was presented with his framed certificate by Angling Trust Chair George Stephenson.

A member of the Trust’s Voluntary Bailiff Service since 2017, David is already the proud recipient of a Volunteer Excellence Award for his “continued and regular patrolling” of waters throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

In February this year, David was in his garden when he heard a loud bang coming from the road and saw a huge plume of water shoot over his neighbour’s 10ft high hedge. He raced to the scene to find a car upside down in the drainage ditch that runs alongside the A1101 Sutton Road with just the underside and four wheels above the water.

David jumped into the chest-deep freezing water to help the trapped driver but was unable to open any of the doors that had become wedged in the narrow ditch.

More people arrived and with the help of four others, they were able to rock the car on its roof so that one of the rear doors could be opened enabling the dazed and concussed driver to be pulled to safety.

David said: “The young driver was extremely cold and coughing up water and blood. He was possibly only moments away from drowning, a very lucky gent. As an impromptu team we all worked very well.”

The driver was taken to hospital with serious injuries and has since made a full recovery.

On being presented with his award, David said: “I am extremely proud and humble to have been nominated for this award by the Angling Trust. From my perspective I did nothing out of the ordinary and was extremely glad the driver survived.”

Angling Trust Chair George Stephenson said: “I am honoured and proud to present this Royal Humane Society award to David, whose actions on that cold, February afternoon rescued a young man from a life-threatening incident.”

Paul Thomas, Angling Trust Regional Enforcement Support Manager (East), who nominated David for the award, said: “David’s calm but swift action undoubtedly helped save a young man’s life. He is a valued member of the Voluntary Bailiff Service who regularly patrols waters in the Wisbech area and his award is well deserved.”

The Voluntary Bailiff Service is part of the Angling Trust’s Fisheries Enforcement Support Service which is funded by fishing licence income through the National Angling Strategic Services contract with the Environment Agency.

(Crash scene pictures courtesy of Fenland Police)

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