Torquay couple Mark Burdis and Lisa Haynes were walking back to their hotel in Bath when they came across a woman in the water
Bus driver Mr Burdis was able to use the railings to his advantage as he pulled the woman out of the cold water
A Torquay couple who rescued a woman from the River Avon while celebrating the New Year in Bath are to be commended with a bravery award.
Mark Burdis and Lisa Haynes are to receive the Royal Humane Society Award after coming to the woman’s aid at around 1am on New Year’s Day.
The couple had travelled to Bath to watch Exeter Chiefs’ win over Bath in the rugby before spending the evening in the city for the New Year celebrations.
They were walking along the towpath back to their hotel when they came across a woman struggling in the water.
It is thought that the woman, believed to be aged in her 40s, had fallen into the water a few yards from the Bath Quays South works – close to where an 18-year-old student died in 2014.
Mr Burdis said: “We were just coming back from our night in the town. We had been watching the rugby on New Year’s Eve and we were making our way back to the hotel. We could hear something which sounded like a domestic so I wouldn’t have got involved, but then the call sounded distressed. I ran down to help her and grabbed her by the arms. Luckily the railings were there which I could lean on to give me some leverage.”
Mr Burdis said he did not see the nearby river rescue cabinet, which if activated alerts Avon Fire and Rescue Service to the incident, because it was ‘too dark’.
“It is not very well lit along there,” he said. “I just wanted to get her out of the water and did what I could.”
He said nobody else was around as he pulled the woman from the water while his partner, Ms Haynes, called the emergency services. He said he used ‘all his strength’ before emergency service crews arrived to take the woman to hospital.
A police spokesman said the ‘vulnerable’ woman is recovering in hospital.
Avon and Somerset Police Chief Inspector Andy Marsh will write to Mr Burdis and Ms Haynes to commend them.
The award is given to those who have acted bravely to save a person’s life.
Twelve people have died in the River Avon in Bath since May 2008.