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Haverhill firefighter honoured for his life-saving actions

An off-duty firefighter who helped to save the life of a football spectator after he collapsed with a heart attack has received an award from the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Tommy Hardwick, 23, received the Certificate of Merit from the High Sheriff of Suffolk, George Vestey, during an awards ceremony held in Ipswich last week to honour firefighters, staff and members of the public for their bravery and commitment .

The citation on the award presented to Tommy, who is a retained firefighter at Haverhill station, said: "In recognition of your outstanding swift action carrying out CPR on a member of public during an emergency situation whilst off duty."

Tommy was a substitute for Haverhill Borough's local derby with Haverhill Rovers last September 29 at the New Croft when he rushed in to give CPR to 60-year-old spectator Dave Ince, after he collapsed pitch-side with a heart attack just moments before the two teams were due to come out and kick-off.

Together with Rovers' welfare officer, Lisa Shulver, Tommy gave treatment to Mr Ince, including the use of a defibrillator to shock his heart back into life, before an East Anglian Air Ambulance crew arrived to take over and transfer him to hospital in Norwich.

Mr Ince has since made a full recovery and at the end of December returned to the New Croft to thank Tommy and Mrs Shulver in person for the assistance they gave him.

The awards evening also saw the Alan Soards Award for Best Fire Station given to Wickhambrook, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, raising £1,200 for the Firefighters Charity and St Nicholas Hospice Care, and has continued to work closely with the local community.

The crew at Wickhambrook Fire Station, which received the Alan Soards Award for Best Fire Station (4038837)
The crew at Wickhambrook Fire Station, which received the Alan Soards Award for Best Fire Station (4038837)

The evening was hosted by Councillor Richard Rout and Chief Fire Officer, Mark Hardingham.

Awards were presented by Mr Vestey, Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Suffolk, Terry Hunt and Chairman of Suffolk County Council, Councillor Michael Ladd.

Councillor Rout, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection, said: “Our Fire Service is always prepared, protecting Suffolk around the clock.

"But this year has been exceptionally busy, mainly due to the long, hot summer which has contributed to so many field fires.

"It’s a privilege to be a part of an event like this, celebrating the achievements and acknowledging the bravery of our firefighters, volunteers and members of the public.”

Mark Hardingham, Chief Fire Officer of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It’s an honour to present these awards to my colleagues, especially those who have given decades of dedication to serving the public.

"But equally, I’m delighted to recognise our next generation of new recruits, such as Ruth and Charlotte, who have recently joined us and will help to keep Suffolk safe.”

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