Local heroes honoured for bravery

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Three men, two from Polegate and one from Seaford, and a Hailsham-based police officer are set to receive top national bravery honours by Royal Approval.

DC Annette Nash, 53, of Sussex Police, Dean Archer of Hyperion Avenue, Polegate, Kevin Hampton of Nightingale Close, Polegate and Phillip Hampton of Hythe Crescent, Seaford have each been awarded Royal Humane Society testimonials on vellum personally approved and signed by Princess Alexandra, the Society’s President.

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The awards follow a horror crash in which two vehicles collided head on along the A27 at Polegate on the morning of June 28 last year.

Ignoring the danger to themselves, the four rescue heroes braved the blazing vehicles and the danger of an explosion to drag an unconscious driver from his vehicle to safety. Sadly he died later but the four heroes today won the personal praise of Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the Royal Humane Society.

“Although he died later they gave him the best possible chance of survival,” he said as he announced the awards at the Society’s London headquarters. “And they put their own lives on the line to do it. They richly deserve these awards. It takes enormous courage to approach a vehicle that is on fire. There is no telling what can happen. But these four did not hesitate.”

DC Nash was the first on the scene and was confronted by two men staggering near one vehicle who then collapsed on the grass verge. A doctor arrived at the scene and looked after them while DC Nash, despite steam and smoke billowing from under the bonnet of one of the vehicles, tried to open the driver’s door to get the driver out.

Kevin and Phillip Hampton who are brothers but who were travelling in separate vehicles, and Dean Archer then arrived on the scene.

They managed to break into the blazing vehicle and with one of them using a fire extinguisher to keep the flames at bay cut the driver free from his seat belt and pulled him to safety.

He was taken to hospital by air ambulance but sadly did not survive.

No date has been fixed for presentation of the awards.

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