Friday, 28th November 2014

Commendation for Bridgnorth man’s cliff-top rescue.

A heroic man who saved a woman’s life following a dramatic cliff rescue in Cornwall last summer will receive a commendation for his bravery.

Ben Stafford, from Bridgnorth, rescued the woman when her car was left teetering above a 300ft drop after it rolled down a cliff top above rocks and sea at St Agnes Head in July last year.

Mr Stafford, 35, said he was proud to be receiving the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation from Cornwall Fire and Rescue, which will be presented to him on March 29. But he said the situation had been tarnished after the woman he rescued went on to commit suicide months later.

Proud

He said: “On the day everyone just did their best and then went home.

“I got the call about the award out of the blue really but I’m very honoured and proud. The incident does come back to me sometimes and it’s brought up in conversation every now and again.”

Mr Stafford had been out jogging with his wife Rachael and their friend Lorraine Holland, of Broseley, in between visiting family in Truro, when they came across the car.

The car had veered off a coastal road and rolled several times down the 300ft cliff before coming to a stop.

The driver was left trapped in the car, bleeding heavily for 20 hours, before being spotted by Mr Stafford, who plays for Bridgnorth Rugby Club’s first team.

Mr Stafford climbed down the cliff and stayed with the victim for about 45 minutes until rescue teams arrived.

An inquest in Southampton heard that less than two months later Mrs Venton, a widow, was found dead in a hire car after running a hosepipe from the exhaust and in through the driver’s window.

Des Tidbury, Chief Fire Officer for Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, said: “He risked his own safety to pass on vital information to 999 control operators about the condition of the driver and stability of the vehicle and then remained with the casualty until emergency crews took over.”

James Fisher