Hampshire woman receives award for saving swimmers at beach

·2-min read
Captain Lucy Russell
Captain Lucy Russell

A HAMPSHIRE woman who selflessly jumped into the sea to save two people from drowning has received a prestigious bravery award.

British Army Officer Lucy Russell, from Hythe, leapt into the water when she spotted a man and woman drowning at Lepe Beach.

The 42-year-old had been spending the day on the New Forest beach with her wife and two children.

She said: "I was standing in the sea and my wife was taking a photo, and at that point, I could hear something and wasn’t too sure what it was.

"When I turned around, I could see two little black dots in the distance, and that’s when I realised there were a couple of people in trouble.

"At that point, I said to my wife, I guess I’m going swimming, kicked off my flip flops and then went out to the people in trouble."

Lucy dragged the distressed female swimmer to the shore and told the man what to do to stay safe.

For her brave acts of service last summer, Lucy has been awarded the Queen's Commendation for Bravery.

She has served in the army for more than 21 years and on receiving the award she said: "It took me completely by surprise. I forgot about the event and then it was a complete surprise when my commanding officer told me about it, so I was really taken aback by it. It’s nice to be recognised, but I was a little bit embarrassed, too."

Before joining the army, Lucy used to be a lifeguard and is a confident swimmer. She added: "It was a strong current, but I wasn’t really phased by it. You don’t really think about that when you’re swimming. You know what you’ve got to do, and you just do it."

She has spent a large part of her career training other troops and is now second in command (2IC) of 73 Training Squadron, Logistics Specialist Training Wing (LSTW) at Marchwood.

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