Citizens' Award Winners 1997
At night on 7th April 1997 Tom Hobdell, a fisherman, found a 44 year old man clinging to the underside of Eastbourne Pier. Mr Hobdell dived into the very cold, heaving sea and succeeded in hauling the man, John McLeod, onto a very slippery concrete beam, and in holding him there. The inshore lifeboat had been alerted, but on arriving became jammed in the pier legs. Part of its canopy was scrapped off in the swell. The helmsman, in praising Mr Hobdell's bravery, said: "He risked his life. If the man had fallen in, I doubt they would have survived".
This recommendation was made by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex.
Mrs Jeanette Funcks
Mrs Jeanette Funcks has lived in the Toxteth area of Liverpool all her life. She and the husband she married 27 years ago had one son, Matthew, a haemophiliac. Jeanette gave up her job and, despite the lack of a car, spent many years taking Matthew back and forth to a mainstream school and to hospital for treatment. Never seeking sympathy, charity or special help, she gave her son, confined to a wheelchair, remarkable devotion and happiness in all his suffering, until last year when he died aged 19.
Despite the cares of the world on her shoulders and the redundancy of her husband after 20 years as a maintenance engineer, Jeanette became involved in service and fundraising for The Princes Park Community Centre, the Children's Hospital Parents Committee, the school Parent Teachers Association, the Summer Play Scheme, the Camelot Resident's Association, Children in Need, Oxfam, Crime Prevention, the Homewatch scheme, pensioners' parties, the Senior Citizens' Luncheon Club and the Housing Association.
Since 1990 she has played a key role in the "Investment in Youth, Liverpool Scheme", designed to steer local young people away from crime and towards socially useful lives. She has made over 800 referrals of young people to the scheme over the last five years.
Mrs Funcks work with the local community Police over many years has been described by them as 'invaluable'. They regards her as 'The Ambassador of Toxteth'.
On 26th November 1995 at approximately 9.40 pm, Fernando Encarnaçäo, a Portuguese citizen, who happened to be walking along Queen's Park Road in Brighton, intervened in a scuffle taking place outside Queen's Park Tavern. One man ran off but was overtaken by another. In Carlyle Street a fight broke out which Mr Encarnaçäo succeeded in stopping. One of the participants now produced a long-bladed bread knife which he plunged into Fernando's stomach. Only when he fell back from the blow to the side of his head did the attacker release the knife. Fernando was now stabbed in the left side of his chest and twice in the back with further blows to his legs. He feigned unconsciousness and heard a voice say "This one's done", followed by the sound of people laughing as they walked away.
Mr Encarnaçäo was rushed to hospital and operated on for a punctured colon. Although his survival was in question he made a good recovery. The principal assailant has been sentenced to twelve years imprisonment.
On 10th September 1995 David Wass found a house on fire in Hinckley, Leicestershire, from which cries for help were coming. He forced the front door and found several separate fires in the living room, with an almost blind 82 year old man in the middle, tied to an already burning chair. Acting quickly and courageously Mr Wass dragged the trapped man in his chair into the hallway where he cut him free. He then proceeded to extinguish the fires with water from the kitchen. Another man came to help but twice was forced to retreat because of the choking smoke.
On 19th July 1996 a twenty year old man was convicted of attempted murder receiving a life sentence. But for Mr Wass's quick thinking and bravery, the charge would surely have been one of murder.
Andrew Peter Shore
On 14th February 1997 in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, Andrew Shore, aged 33, learned of an armed robbery taking place in a nearby Halifax Building Society office. Following directions given by a bystander, he pursued the three robbers in his car. Catching up with one of them, Mr Shore forced him into the rear seat of his car after a violent struggle. Helped by a passer-by, he made a second citizen's arrest and forced another of the offenders into the rear part of his car. Climbing into the car himself, he detained these two armed and violent criminals until the police took over. Having been punched, bitten and spat upon, Mr Shore was taken to Rochdale Infirmary for treatment.
The third criminal was caught by the police and in July the three of them were sentenced to terms of imprisonment totaling sixteen years.
On 14th December 1996, Homme Zwaagstra, aged 19, a student of Southampton University, saw a house on fire with Harvinder Sahota, a seven year old girl, trapped on the upper floor. Efforts to break down the front door having proved unsuccessful, Mt Zwaagstra smashed the double-glazed window of the sitting room, where the fire had started, but was met by a wall of heat and smoke. Having shinned up a drain-pipe which collapsed, he was helped onto the sloping roof of the porch, where he broke the window of the bedroom with a cricket bat which had been handed to him. Reaching into the smoke-filled room, he felt the girl crouching under the window-sill and pulled her through the broken window safely.
Mr Zwaagstra's courage and initiative saved Harvinder Sahota from very serious injury or death.