Elderly couple heap praise on police officers who rescued them from River Ivel in Biggleswade

PC Allie Wilson and PC Saj Saddique have been praised for their part in a heroic rescue from the Riv

PC Allie Wilson and PC Saj Saddique have been praised for their part in a heroic rescue from the River Ivel in Biggleswade. - Credit: Archant

An elderly couple have heaped praise onto a pair of Bedfordshire Police officers after they rescued them from the River Ivel.

The couple, who are in their late 60s, were walking along the river bank in Biggleswade in July, when the man slipped on a narrow bank and fell in.

His wife tried to help him but also went into the water. A passer-by saw they were in trouble and called the emergency services.

PC Saj Saddique was the first on the scene. He took his stab vest and boots off, in case he also fell into the water, he then lay on the ground and lowered himself down the bank.

He got the elderly man to hold onto his leg, while he and a courageous member of the public pulled his wife out the water, lifting her over PC Saddique’s head. They then pulled her husband out and wrapped them both in their jackets to keep them warm.

The couple had been in the river for around 20 minutes and were both suffering from exposure, due to the cold temperature of the water, as well as minor cuts and bruises. They were taken to Lister Hospital in Stevenage, but have now made a full recovery.

PC Allie Wilson, a student on only her fourth shift, directed the other emergency services to the scene and arranged all the after care for the couple; visiting them in hospital, ringing their next of kin and ensuring their car was safe.

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In a letter to the officers the couple wrote: “We are writing to thank the two officers from the bottom of our hearts for their efforts in rescuing us. Their conduct was exemplary and their kindness and consideration were beyond praise. Please accept this £20 as a token of our gratitude and donate to a police charity of your choice.”

The officers have donated the money to the police charity Embrace: Child Victims of Crime.

PC Saddique said: “We appreciate the couple’s kind donation to charity and their gratitude, I was just thankful myself and the brave member of the public were able to rescue them.

“They were in the water for quite some time, but because they held onto each other they were able to stop each other from going under and in effect saved each other’s lives, which shows what a strong relationship they had. They were even arguing over who was going to be rescued first.

“We would like to remind members of the public to take care if they are walking by the edge of a river, banks may be slippery or slope away suddenly or be unstable and crumble, especially when paths are narrow. Don’t assume a path is safe because you’ve walked it before and look out for trip or slip hazards, especially where it is overgrown.”

The accident happened near to the spot where a 15-year-old boy drowned while swimming three years ago. William Stringer’s life was cut short after what started out as a group of friends having fun ended in tragedy.

PC Saddique added: “As the warmer weather continues people may be tempted to jump into the nearest river or lake to cool off and we want to highlight the dangers of swimming in unsupervised open water, as a lot of people, especially children, don’t understand the risks and potentially tragic consequences that such quick dips could have.

“Think twice before being tempted to jump in, it really isn’t worth it.

“Although the waters might look calm and safe, there are hidden dangers beneath the surface.

“Even the strongest of swimmers can get into difficulty as a result of undercurrents and deeper water, a bit of fun splashing around can soon turn into something a lot more tragic.”

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