Alfie and Steve England, Joel Henthorn, Chris Ingram, Jos Lawrence and Moss Thomas receive their awards presented by Shaun Sawyer, Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police (left) and Rear Admiral Michale Wood CBE, Deputy Lieutenant for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – HM the Queen’s representative, (Centre) with Jonathan Davies (third left).
Seven surfers from St Agnes have been awarded prestigious national bravery and life-saving honours by the Royal Humane Society.
Alfie and Steve England, Joel Henthorn, Chris Ingram, Jos Lawrence and Jason Leger have all been awarded Testimonials on Parchment. Moss Thomas received Resuscitation Certificate and Teah Munro a Certificate of Commendation.
The awards were be presented by Shaun Sawyer, Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police and Rear Admiral Michale Wood CBE, Deputy Lieutenant for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in a ceremony April 29th 2022 at the China Fleet Club, Saltash.
A lone surfer who was spotted face down and unconscious while out on his board off the North Cornish coast owes his life to seven Cornish heroes who formed an impromptu rescue team and dragged him unconscious back to the safety of the beach and then fought a life and death battle to bring him back from the brink of death.
Alfie and Steve sprint towards an unconscious Jonathan
The surfer, Jonathan Davies’ close encounter with death happened on the afternoon of 25 May 2020 at Chapel Porth Beach.
Jonathan was out on the water which was running with a 6 ft swell when he lost consciousness. However, Alfie England who was out surfing with his dad Steve from St Agnes, spotted Jonathan in the water. They fought through a gap in the waves to reach Jonathan and then managed to get his head above water.
They were then joined by Sam Russell from St Agnes and Paul Elcocks from Falmouth, Joel Henthorn of St Agnes, Chris Ingram from Porthtowan,Jos Lawrence of Redruth, Jason Ledger from Camborne. Between them they managed to administer rescue breaths to Jonathan as they pulled him back to shore through the large surf and strong rip currents.
By the time they got him on the shore he was blue, unconscious and had stopped breathing. Moss Thomas, an off-duty RNLI lifeguard then joined them and immediately began administering cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while Teah Munro from St Agnes who had also rushed to the scene ran two kilometers to alert beach wardens and collect a first aid kit.
The coastguard airlift
An air ambulance helicopter then arrived and paramedics took over, and thanks to the treatment he had already received Jonathan went on to recover from his ordeal after two days in hospital in an induced coma.
Now the seven rescue heroes have all been awarded national bravery and life-saving honours by the Royal Humane Society. Steve and Alfie England, Joel Henthorn, Chris Ingram, Jos Lawrence and Jason Leger were all awarded Testimonials on Parchment.
Moss Thomas received a Resuscitation Certificate and Teah Munro a Certificate of Commendation.
They have all, also won the praise of Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Royal Humane Society for their “fantastic team work.”
“They all got together and formed a team to save Jonathan,” he said. “It was fantastic team work for people thrown together by an emergency and they did a superb job. Thanks to their swift action he was in the best possible condition when the paramedics arrived to take over and get him to hospital. And the reward was that his life was saved.
“They even had to give him rescue breaths as they pulled him through the heavy waves to get him back to the beach. That was an incredible fete in itself. If ever any group of people deserved the awards, they do. And of course they put themselves in harms way during the pandemic with no thought for their own safety. Their only thought was to save Jonathan. They were all true heroes.”
The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back more than two centuries. The Queen is its patron and its president is Princess Alexandra. It is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.
It was founded in 1774 by two of the day’s eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan. Their primary motive was to promote techniques of resuscitation. However, as it emerged that numerous people were prepared to put their own lives at risk to save others, the awards scheme evolved, and today a variety of awards are made depending on the bravery involved.
The Society also awards non health care professionals who perform a successful resuscitation. Since it was set up the Society has considered over 87,000 cases and made over 200,000 awards. The Society is a registered charity which receives no public funding and is dependent on voluntary donations.
“So happy Jonathan is alive today. I still can’t quite believe we got him back,” said Steve
Alfie England, an ex RNLI lifeguard, said “It is amazing to receive an award but it is better to see Jonathan back in the sea! It was full team effort and was well as those nominated I would also like to thank Paul Elcocks and Sam Russell for their actions in the water and Ben Skinner, Dulcie Havers, and Dominque Kent for the help on land.”
Chris Ingram, said “It’s an honour to have received the award but the fact that Jonathon is still with us is award in itself, and a testament to the work and training that many, if not all of us, have done with SLSGB and the RNLI.”
Moss Thomas said, “I would just like to say ‘Thank you’ to everyone who was involved, who worked together on the day of rescue to save a man’s life. It was great that we all got some recognition, with the award. It’s a good thing to live in the community we do.”
“I’m very proud of Alfie.’ said Steve “If he hadn’t spotted Jonathan and immediately acted it would have been a completely different story. Alfie, Jonathan and I got pretty battered by a set, and it was pretty heavy for a while as Jonathan was unresponsive, blue in the face and had pretty much drowned. But we knew the crew were coming to back us up and no one gave up.”