Bravery award for Otley man who save drowning girl's life

Wharfedale Observer: Simon Wood alongside Assistant Chief Constable John Robins Simon Wood alongside Assistant Chief Constable John Robins

An Otley man who plucked a “lifeless” five-year-old girl from the River Wharfe in Ilkley has been honoured for his bravery at a prestigious awards ceremony.

The ceremony recognising the courageous and innovative actions of local people and police officers to tackle crime and improve their communities was held in Wakefield.

Mark Gilmore, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, hosted the evening alongside Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson at the Calder Park site of the Regional Scientific Support facility.

Throughout the event tales of courage, heroism and people going above and beyond their civic and professional duty were heard.

Receiving an Assistant Chief Constable Award was Simon Wood, 27, of Otley, who on August 22 last year jumped into the River Wharfe in Ilkley to save the life of five-year-old Lily Waddington.

Lily had got into difficulties during a day out in the town with her grandparents. Life saver Simon managed to pull her from the water in the nick of time.

Also among the awards was a tale of bravery in which two members of the public helped two officers tackle a team of robbers armed with hammers during an incident at a post office in Burley-in-Wharfedale last year.

Local resident Marcus McLeod initially spotted suspicious activity at the post office and flagged down a police car containing PC Tim Brown and PCSO Darrin Thompson.

While PC Brown was parking the vehicle, PCSO Thompson entered the building and was immediately confronted by the two masked suspects. With no thought for his own safety he grappled with one of the men while the other repeatedly struck him with a sledge-hammer.

As the struggle continued outside, Mr McLeod saw the attack and rugby tackled the suspect armed with a sledgehammer. With the assistance of PC Brown, the suspect was detained with his accomplice making off towards a waiting getaway vehicle.

Another male member of the public, who has asked for his name not to be detailed, then gave chase and was struck by the vehicle as it attempted to leave the scene. Fortunately all those involved in the incident suffered only minor injuries.

The second suspect was later identified and arrested.

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