BEFLORD residents and the village’s Community Group came together in the Market Square on Sunday to recognise the bravery of three young men.
Danny Sinton (16), Ross Moore (17) and Gareth Davies (16) were honured for rescuing 78-year-old stroke victim Les Jobson from the freezing water in Belford Burn on New Year’s Eve.
In his speech giving thanks to the boys, Mr Jobson explained how, at approximately 3pm on December 31, 2012, he had been clearing moss away from the area next to the burn and one of the stones on the edge had given way, causing him to fall five feet down the sheer drop onto his back.
Mr Jobson’s garden adjoins the burn and he always takes a great pride in keeping the edge of the burn clean and tidy at that point.
Fortunately for him, after he had spent some five minutes in the water, Danny, Ross and Gareth were crossing one of the bridges over the Belford Burn.
They heard cries for help and looked over to see Mr Jobson’s plight.
The boys acted immediately. They got through the fence and Danny jumped down into the burn and tried to lift Mr Jobson, who by this time had only his nose and mouth above the water.
Even with Danny’s rugby-playing strength it was impossible to get Mr Jobson, whose clothes by now were completely sodden with water, up the sheer bank and back onto dry land.
Danny managed to drag Mr Jobson some ten yards further downstream to a less steep spot where Ross and Gareth were waiting to pull him up the embankment.
It was a true team effort which surely saved this man’s life.
The boys then took Mr Jobson back to his house where his partner, Mary, was waiting, shocked at what had happened.
Danny said that his feet were absolutely frozen with the temperature of the water in the burn so how Mr Jobson must have felt, heaven knows.
Nothing more was heard or said about the incident until Mary approached Eric Gassner from Belford Community Group towards the end of January and asked if the boys could have some recognition for what they had done.
By that time, Mr Jobson had only just recovered from his experience.
The Community Group acted immediately and had three plaques engraved to present to the boys.
Meanwhile Mary had organised a celebration tea at the Blue Bell Hotel for the three boys and their immediate families.
And when Mary and Les offered to pay for this tea the owners and staff of the Blue Bell refused any payment and donated it free of charge.
David and Michael Ratliff, the owners, have been very kind to the village on many occasions and the Community Group wishes to thank them for this kind gesture.
Michael Ratliff, who was at the presentation, said how proud he was of the boys’ actions and that it was an honour for the hotel to provide the meal for all of the guests. The Community Group was represented at the presentation by vice chairman Eric Gassner who co-ordinated the event, as well as Kevan Shiell and secretary, Pauline Tucker.
Eric said how good it was to be presenting awards to youngsters who so often get a bad name in today’s society.
The common sense, humanity and sense of community shown by these boys should be an example to the youth of today. Pauline then presented each of the boys with a plaque and the assembled company retired into the Blue Bell Lounge for the excellent tea which had been prepared.