“I don’t see what all the fuss is about”

sp92686 Brimington Rescue Hero Alan Francis by the canal.
sp92686 Brimington Rescue Hero Alan Francis by the canal.
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HUMBLE great-grandad Alan Francis has been honoured for courageously saving a man from drowning.

The-74-year-old didn’t think twice about climbing into Chesterfield Canal and swimming to the man – who had fainted and fallen in – then drag him to the bank where others helped pull him out.

Last week these life-saving actions were recognised when our hero scooped a Royal Humane Society award at a Derbyshire Constabulary ceremony.

“Anybody would have done what I have and I don’t see what the fuss is about,” said retired engineering fitter Alan, of Wayside, Brimington.

“When you’re in that position you don’t think about it – you just do it.

“As long as the man’s okay and everyone’s come out of it alright, that’s all that matters.”

Alan was walking on the towpath last July when he was alerted to the drama at a stretch of the canal off Bilby Lane, immediately telling bystanders to call 999.

The man couldn’t be reached otherwise, so Alan climbed in. An air ambulance took the man to hospital with hypothermia and he was later discharged.

Proud wife Janet, 69, added: “The police rang me and said he rescued a 73-year-old man, I said what you didn’t know is that it’s a 74-year-old man who fetched him.”

Keen fisherman Alan was just one person thrust into the spotlight in the awards, for police staff and remarkable civilians.

Passer-by Adrian Hatton, who stopped a woman plunging from Saltergate multi-storey car park in Chesterfield by pulling her to safety as officers arrived, received an award from Mick Creedon, Chief Constable of Derbyshire.

Chf Con Creedon said: “It was a difficult situation for Adrian and we can’t thank him enough for his help on that day.”

A major success in cracking a cold-case Cromford bank robbery from 25 years ago also saw four staff receive Chf Con commendations.

Painstaking work by Det Cons Derek Ellis and Christopher Simcock, fingerprint expert Danny Redden and former Det Sgt Tim Nye brought one man to justice for the crime, which left a security guard seriously injured and saw £7,500 stolen. Two other men have been arrested and the investigation continues.

ellen.beardmore@derbyshiretimes.co.uk