Brave Richard: 'I wasn't going to let a mum drown'
A bereaved dad with a heart condition has been hailed a hero after risking his life to rescue a mother of four.
Brave Richard Walby didn’t give a second thought to jumping into Bridlington Harbour to save the woman from drowning.
She was able to return to her four children thanks to Richard, 33, whose life was marred by tragedy when he lost his 13-year-old daughter to cancer last year.
“Someone was stood on the harbour wall shouting she’s a mother of four,” said Richard, who jumped to the rescue alongside four heroic police officers.
“Nothing went through my mind – it was just instinct.
“With us losing a child, I just thought we need to get her out.”
The alarm was raised when police received a call that a 40-year-old woman was threatening to jump into the sea.
Community support officers Adrian Clark and Kerry Jones were first on the scene, arriving to discover the woman in water near Garrison Square.
The brave bobbies tried pulling the woman from danger – but she resisted their efforts save her.
Constables Hayley Hart and Charlotte Brown then joined the rescue effort before Richard, who was walking his dog with his partner, spotted the ensuing drama.
Richard, who doctors told in 2010 that he had just 24 hours to live because he developed a heart infection, added: “We saw the officers trying to hold on to the woman. I looked over the wall and I thought they were struggling.
“They took off their stab vests and had already run down the steps and jumped in.”
It was a risky move for Richard to jump into the freezing water with his heart condition, but his “instinct” to help had taken over.
“I went totally under and grabbed on to her.
“The tide pushed me against the wall two or three times,” said Richard.
“I managed to push her on to where Hayley was standing.
“I grabbed her by the legs and they grabbed her by the arms.
“I shouldn’t have done in it because I have a heart condition. But it was just instinct, I was not going to let a mother drown.
“She needed to be out that water. She was just screaming.”
The mother was saved from drowning thanks to her rescuers, and was taken to Scarborough Hospital to be checked over.
She also received support from mental health professionals.
Richard, of Queens Square, who is originally from Hull, was taken to Bridlington Hospital’s Minor Injury Unit and he was assessed.
He added: “I wasn’t thinking of myself. My partner was screaming because she thought I was going to get killed with my heart condition, but I thought I can’t let this woman die.
“In 2010, I was in hospital for 12 weeks solid and, for a further four weeks, every day I had to come in and have intravenous antibiotics.
“I have the side effects of the drugs that saved my life.
“They left me with muscular dystrophy and arthritis.”
But despite the increased risk of entering the water with weakened muscles, Richard said he “just didn’t think” of the danger posed to him.
Following the incident Chief Superintendent Christine Wilson said: “The bravery shown by everyone in this incident was outstanding and undoubtedly without their intervention the woman involved could have died.
Mr Walby, who was out with his partner, showed incredible courage in the support of the police and we are incredibly grateful for his assistance.
“We intend to seek official recognition for his bravery.
“As a senior manager, I am proud every day of the people who work for Humberside Police and their amazing commitment.”