Queen's medal for West Wittering beach hero

The Argus: Queen's medal for West Wittering beach hero Queen's medal for West Wittering beach hero

A hero who saved a five-year-old girl from being swept out to sea has been posthumously awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

Plamen Petkov died after saving a five-year-old girl off West Wittering beach, near Chichester, in May last year.

Mr Petkov, 32, a British citizen of Bulgarian origin, was walking along the beach with a friend when he leapt into the sea and rescued the child from an inflatable rubber ring.

His mother, Antoaneta, has been invited to Buckingham Palace to receive the rarely-given award on his behalf.

The British Ambassador to Bulgaria, Jonathan Allen said: “Many people were on the beach on the West Wittering on that sunny day in May, but only Plamen Petkov responded to the pleas of the distraught mother and found the inner strength to jump into the treacherous waters.

“His indomitable courage and complete disregard for his own safety saved the life of the little girl, but unfortunately resulted in his own demise. “

Plamen Petkov’s noble act moved deeply the British people and the coroner’s officer that dealt with the matter attested to his bravery saying that in her five years on the job that was ‘the most unselfish act she had seen’.

“Plamen Petkov is a true Bulgarian hero. The United Kingdom honours his heroism and his sacrifice.”

Deputy Chief Constable of the Sussex Police Giles York said: “I am certain that had it not been for the actions of Mr Petkov we would have been dealing with the death of a child, possibly lost at sea.”

The Queen’s Gallantry Medal is the third level civil decoration of the United Kingdom.

It is awarded for exemplary acts of bravery, and is primarily a civilian medal, although military personnel can also receive it.

In 2012 he was awarded the highest civilian Bulgarian distinction and a memorial bench and plaque was unveiled at West Wittering beach.


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