A child who helped save his mother’s life by calling the fire service when she was trapped in a lift shaft has been given an award for bravery.

At this year’s West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Recognition and Achievement Awards ceremony, Sebby Saich, from Bognor, was praised for helping the fire service who managed to rescue his mum.

She was stuck in their home’s lift shaft with the lift precariously above her.

Sebby, who was only seven at the time, highlighted the dangers of the situation to Bognor fire crews. 

He warned that they should not press the lift call button as this could cause the lift to drop down on to his mum.

Throughout the incident, Sebby remained calm and gave fire crews important information, including details on how to isolate power to certain parts of the building, suggestions on places to look for a lift panel and even suggested several methods of rescue.

He also asked if they had a battering ram to force the door, a tool to break the glass lift door, a drill to remove bolts or tools to secure the lift on the first floor.

At the awards, firefighters were also praised for their hard work and commitment. 

To begin the celebrations, 32 long service and good conduct medals were presented to members of staff who have served in the fire and rescue service for 20, 30 and 40 years.

The medals were presented by the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, Lady Emma Barnard.

Fifteen Commendation Awards were then presented to those who have been recognised for providing exceptional public service.

Among the winners were Dan Moon and Wayne Challen, off-duty firefighters from Midhurst who saved their friend's life when he had a heart attack.

Dan and Wayne were awarded the Community and Partnership Award.

Jamie Cox was recognised as charity champion for raising thousands of pounds in memory of well-loved and much-missed colleagues – crew manager Mark Butler and watch manager Simon Constable.

Mark Bateman, crew manager at Selsey Fire Station, was presented with the Exceptional Service Award.

When attending an incident caused by a faulty toaster, Mark cooked the elderly resident dinner before leaving the property. The following day he then bought the resident a replacement toaster, using his own money as he realised that being without the appliance would be a big inconvenience for the resident.

Councillor Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council's cabinet member for community support, fire and rescue, said: “Every year we hear stories of exemplary public service from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service staff at the awards ceremony, which shows just how much time and effort they put into keeping our communities safe and well.

“It is an honour to attend the ceremony each year and formally recognise the dedication and commitment of those who have gone over and above.”

Chief Fire Officer Sabrina Cohen-Hatton said: “As an emergency service we are incredibly privileged to be able to help residents when they need it most, often during their darkest hours, but every single one of our recipients has helped to make those hard times a little bit brighter.

“I am delighted to be celebrating those people that have positively contributed to our work and I am full of complete admiration for their passion to care for others.”

The full list of award recipients are:

Long Service and Good Conduct Medals (20 years):

  • Marc Bagshaw (Crawley)
  • Steven Foster (Worthing)
  • Darren Seymour (East Preston and training team)
  • Robert Baker-Johnson (national inter-agency liaison officer, regional lead)
  • Matthew Gamblen (Horsham and Midhurst)
  • Martin Taylor (Haywards Heath)
  • Gary Ball (area manager for service delivery)
  • Mark McCarthy (Chichester)
  • Darren Ware (Henfield)
  • Adam Condell (station manager, protection)
  • Stephen Parkes (Horsham)
  • Philip Wattam (Lancing)
  • Daniel Covill (Crawley)
  • Beth Parry-Evans (Littlehampton and Shoreham)
  • Daniel Wright (Crawley)

Long Service and Good Conduct Certificate (20 years):

  • Mandy Anderson (inspecting officer, protection)

Long Service and Good Conduct Medals (30 years):

  • Joseph Bullingham (operational risk manager, protection)
  • Steven Hayes (station manager, training)
  • Richard Tout (operational risk manager, protection and Arundel)
  • Christopher Constanti (Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath)
  • Graham Marchant (Burgess Hill)
  • Andrew Tredre (Bognor)
  • Michael Dunham (training Team)
  • Jonathan Mays (station manager)
  • Andrew Tullett (Henfield)
  • Martin Eldridge (retained liaison officer and Petworth)
  • Russell Moore (station manager, national resilience)
  • Alistair Green (station manager Crawley)
  • James Mundy (Henfield)

Long Service and Good Conduct Medals (40 years):

  • Peter Langridge (Turners Hill)
  • Nigel Purves (Midhurst)​