11:36am Wednesday 2nd July 2014
GWENT residents joined police officers and staff being honoured for going beyond the call of duty at the Gwent Police Awards.
Chief Constable Jeff Farrar and Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston recognised the bravery and commitment of the heroes and heroines that have served their community, including those who aren’t members of the force.
The Gwent Good Citizen Award, in association with the Argus, was awarded to Denys Cronin and Garry Fuller who were first on the scene in a fatal road traffic collision between a cyclist and a car in Abertridwr on January 23.
The cyclist, Evan Dennis Hughes, tragically died but the pair’s swift actions and support were commended by the ambulance service.
The Gwent Police officer who saved a Newport County fan’s life when he suffered a heart attack at an away game in March, was one of the many officers commended for their exceptional work.
PC Matthew Screen, who travelled to the game in Torquay as a spotter, resuscitated lifelong supporter Gerald Evans, 55, when he collapsed with breathing difficulties.
He was rewarded for his efforts at the ceremony at the Christchurch Centre on Monday, along with colleagues like PC David Solomon and PC Christine James who rescued a woman from a river in Pontypool on Boxing Day 2012.
PC Solomon told the Argus: “I’m just very privileged and proud. You come to work every day and you do your best and some things work out and others don’t.”
PC Rhys Caddick, 29, of Blackwood and PC Greg Eustace, 34, of South Wales Police Firearms Unit, were commended for evacuating residents from a burning building on July 27, 2013 in Cwmtillery.
The two officers risked their own safety by going back into the building, despite thick black smoke causing near zero visibility, to save an elderly couple.
Inspector Paul Jacks said it was “inspirational and courageous” police work and the pair have also been put forward for a national police bravery award.
PC Peter Whittington was commended for using his local knowledge to apprehend suspects following the death of John Reeder who had been knocked off his bicycle in Pontnewynydd in August last year.
He searched Pontypool Park in the early hours of the morning to minimise noise and arrested the suspects despite their violent fight with officers. The suspects were later found guilty of manslaughter.
The Gareth Hopkins Memorial Award was presented to Community Support Officer Sue Falconer, of Blackwood, who returned to work after the amputation of her lower right leg after just five months.
Inspector Mark Smith said she had shown “outstanding courage through this very difficult time”.
The recently retired chief officer of the special constabulary Peter Howells received the Folley Award for his 44 years of service, 18 years of which he was the chief officer.
Mike Hodson was awarded the Volunteering Award for helping to keep Rogerstone police station open for the last ten years by answering calls and assisting members of the public and Lewis Barry, of Caerphilly, was given a Cadet of the Year award for giving 1,000 hours of his time for events, community meetings and go on patrol.
Chief constable Farrar told the ceremony he always tells people that he has got the best job in the world and occasions such as the Gwent Police Awards remind him why that is the case.
PCC Johnston said Gwent Police had some of the best officers in the country.
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