Coastguard rewarded for Beachy Head bravery

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A member of the Eastbourne Coastguard Rescue Team who went to the rescue of a suicidal woman at Beachy Head has been recognised for his bravery.

On March 14 Coastguard Rescue Officer Keith Rayment was heading to the Coastguard Rescue Station at Beachy Head to carry out maintenance on equipment.

When he arrived, he carried out a quick tour of the car parks in the vicinity, and noticed a woman sat alone in a car.

When he went to investigate, he saw that the woman was in the process of self-harming. He managed to get into the car, and stop her from causing any further injury to herself.

Keith then called for assistance and continued to provide first aid whilst waiting for back up to arrive. The woman was then taken to hospital.

Keith, who has been a member of the Eastbourne Coastguard Rescue Team for nearly five years, has now been awarded the Testimonial on Parchment from the Royal Humane Society. This is awarded when someone has put themselves in danger to save, or attempt to save, someone else.

Peter Dymond, Chief Coastguard, said, “In the face of provocation Keith’s courageous and quick action undoubtedly saved this person’s life and upheld the finest traditions of Her Majesty’s Coastguard.

“My congratulations to Keith on this well-deserved award.”

Murray Milligan, HM Coastguard’s Coastal Safety Manager for the South East, said, “When arriving at the station, members of the Coastguard Rescue Team often have a look around for cars parked in an unusual manner, which may, from experience, indicate that someone might be intending to take their own life.

“Thanks to Keith’s quick decision making and his actions, he prevented a terribly tragedy from occurring.”

On call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the 3,500 men and women who make up Coastguard Rescue Service are trained and equipped to respond to a wide-range of emergencies at a moment’s notice.

They’re all trained in first aid techniques, along with skills including navigation and map reading, technical mud rescue, water rescue, cliff rescue, assisting helicopter operations and incident prevention.