Residents rewarded for bravery

Date: Friday 26th April 2019
Mayor Stan Rooke presents certificates to Helen Holmes and Chris Pigney.
Mayor Stan Rooke presents certificates to Helen Holmes and Chris Pigney.

TWO residents who performed an act of bravery by entering the River Eden at their own risk to attempt to rescue Kacper Krauze — who was at imminent risk of drowning — have been praised for their actions.

Helen Holmes and Chris Pigney were presented with certificates by Appleby mayor Stan Rooke on Wednesday for the actions they took on 26th February.

Mother-of-two Helen, aged 46, who lives at Bolton, was in the yard doing jobs at the family farm — which is surrounded by the River Eden — in Appleby when she heard a commotion of lots of screaming and shouting.

On investigation, she was told that “Kacper can’t swim”. She said she could see there was a boy in the river. With her wellies on, she waded into the water and got half way across when she saw Kacper being dragged under.

“He had sunk in front of me,” said Helen, who is not herself a strong swimmer. However, she was able to show firefighters roughly where it was in the river that he had gone under.

Chris Pigney, aged 24, who is a mechanic at H. Pigney & Son, said he was at work when a young boy came in to say his friend had fallen in the river and could he come to help.

He said he ran over to the river, but could not see anything. However, Helen was in the water at the other side. Chris said he took his overalls off and jumped in as well. “It was freezing,” he said.

He swam to the bottom, desperately trying to locate the boy, but it was dark and he could not see anything.

Chris, who was in the water for 10 to 15 minutes, got out when the firefighters arrived on the scene.

Helen said she could not praise the firemen, paramedics and doctors enough. “They started to work on him straight away after he came out of the water,” said Helen. “It really is a miracle how he survived.”

Chris said he had just done what he thought anybody would do, adding that he was really pleased to hear how well Kacper was doing.