A POLICE officer and volunteer coastguard who put their own lives at risk to grab a potentially violent man on a precarious cliff edge at Poldhu Cove have been awarded top national bravery honours for saving the man’s life.

The incident happened back on the afternoon of October 16, 2019 on the 40ft high cliff at Craig-a-Bella, Poldhu Cove, near Mullion.

PC Jonathan Bell and Tracey Fuller, himself a former police officer and now a coastguard, are both to receive Royal Humane Society Testimonials on Parchment for their bravery in tackling the 6ft 3in violent man, who was said to have “tremendous strength”, as he sat on the cliff’s edge.

He was found there after a search following him absconding from secure accommodation where he lived and an earlier attack by him on a carer at the secure accommodation.

Other carers were already at the scene attempting to persuade the man to come away from the edge, but without success.

In a bid not to alarm the man, PC Bell and Mr Fuller, who had volunteered to help, changed out of their uniforms and then, when the man got up and started walking along the cliff top, they shadowed him realising that he could decide to jump from the cliff at any moment.

Then, when they managed to get close enough to him, they grabbed him and were able to drag him a safe distance away from the edge.

Mr Fuller was later personally praised for his part in the rescue by the police, who said his decision to help and his actions had prevented a potential fatality.

Falmouth Packet:

Tracey Fuller, back when he was a police officer in the Helston area

They said he had shown no regard for his own safety, even though he knew he could he assaulted or potentially dragged over the cliff.

Adding his praise for the two men, Andrew Chapman, secretary of the Royal Humane Society, said: “This was an extremely dangerous scenario. Things could have gone dramatically wrong at any moment but PC Bell and Mr Fuller, without a thought for their own safety, persevered and thankfully managed to get the man away from danger and calm him down.

“They did a wonderful job and richly deserve the awards they are to receive. They prevented what could have ended as a gruesome suicide.”

The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back more than two centuries. The Queen is its patron and its president is Princess Alexandra. It is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.

It was founded in 1774 by two of the day's eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan. Their primary motive was to promote techniques of resuscitation.

However, as it emerged that numerous people were prepared to put their own lives at risk to save others, the awards scheme evolved, and today a variety of awards are made depending on the bravery involved.

The society also awards non healthcare professionals who perform a successful resuscitation. Since it was set up the society has considered over 87,000 cases and made over 200,000 awards. It is a registered charity that receives no public funding and is dependent on voluntary donations.

It was one of a select number of organisations to receive a donation from the Patron’s fund which was set up to acknowledge work done by organisations of which the Queen is the patron, to mark her 90th birthday.