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Hero in line for a bravery award

A HERO who helped save a man trapped in his burning home is in line for a bravery award.

Clayton Sawyer, 29, of Greyhound Close in Ash, leapt into action on the night of February 21 during a day trip to Hayling Island with his girlfriend.

As they drove home they spotted Patrick McClune, 54, hanging from an upstairs window, fire raging around him.

Mr Sawyer tried to climb a drainpipe to rescue him but it was too weak to support his weight.

"It was just too rickety," he said. "It wouldn't have held anybody."

So he and another man coaxed Mr McClune to slide down the pipe to safety before the burning roof collapsed, catching him as he fell.

Now police say they will be putting the army maintenance worker up for an award.

But modest Mr Sawyer said: "Anybody would have done the same thing."

It was around 10.30pm when Mr Sawyer (pictured) and his girlfriend Lee-Ann spotted the blaze.

"I looked across and noticed the house was on fire with the bloke leaning out of the window, screaming for help," he said.

Mr McClune was taken to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham near Portsmouth, suffering from smoke inhalation.

Sgt Kevin Stanswood of Hayling Island police said: "I would have to say that Mr Sawyer certainly contributed to saving this man's life.

"An award is something that is going to be considered because his actions in seeing that man and making an attempt to save him were above and beyond what would normally be expected from a member of the public.

"I'm certainly going to nominate him for recognition."

But Mr Sawyer said: "I don't really deserve one because I didn't really do anything.

"You see firemen dealing with that sort of thing every day but I really didn't do a lot.

"All I could do was encourage him down. I couldn't get up to him because the drainpipe had gone and there were flames coming out of the window."

Forty firefighters battled the blaze for four hours but it destroyed the house.

"There was nothing that they could do to save it," said Mr Sawyer.

Fifteen residents were evacuated and taken to Hayling Island police station as the fire threatened to spread to neighbouring homes.

An electrical fault is believed to have triggered the blaze.


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
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