Officer awarded for saving Hailsham girl

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A police officer who finally found and then played a major role in saving the life of a teenage Hailsham girl who had been at the centre of a major police hunt is to receive a top national life-saving honour.

PC David Gilmore, who is stationed at Uckfield, had finally come off duty after being involved in the hunt for the missing 17-year-old and was walking home.

However, as he passed the girl’s home he heard screams from the house and saw the girl inside suffering from a fit.

After he was let in he put her into the recovery position to ensure she did not choke and then did his best to assist her to breathe properly again.

Now he has been awarded a Royal Humane Society certificate of commendation for his action.

And he also won the personal praise of Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the Royal Humane Society.

Speaking at the Society’s London headquarters as he announced he award Mr Wilkinson said: “It was ironic that after spending his entire shift engaged in the search for the girl PC Gilmore should finally trace her as he walked home off duty.

“Thankfully he did though and because of his training he knew exactly what to do when he saw the condition of the girl.

“Thanks to him she did not choke and her breathing was restored. If he had not turned up when he did there is no knowing what could have happened. He richly deserves the award he is to receive.”

No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the award, made following a recommendation from Sussex Police, but it is expected to take place in the near future.

The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back more than two centuries.

Its president is Princess Alexandra and it is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.

It was founded in 1774 by two of the day’s eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan.

Their primary motive was to promote techniques of resuscitation.

However, as it emerged that numerous people were prepared to put their own lives at risk to save others, the awards scheme evolved, and today a variety of awards are made depending on the bravery involved.

The Society also awards non health care professionals who perform a successful resuscitation. Since it was set up the Society has considered over 86,000 cases and made over 200,000 awards.