Award for hero who saved best friend's lifeBy Stephen Lloyd
November 22, 2012
A FIRST aid hero from Hook has won a national award for saving his best friend’s life.
Teenager Lee Craven scooped the St John Ambulance award after saving his friend from drowning in the frozen Basingstoke Canal in Woking.
The 17-year-old beat off stiff competition from four other heroes in the Guy Evans Award category, which was decided by a public vote.
The award is presented in memory of Guy Evans, who died aged 17 when his heart failed while out motorcycling with friends. His mother, Beth Chesney-Evans, firmly believes that had someone who was with Guy known first aid, he would have had a chance of survival.
Lee, who learned first aid with the Scouts and then as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award, turned life-saver while at a friend’s party in Woking in February.
His pal, Max Davies, went into the garden for some fresh air but, unknown to him, immediately behind the garden lies the Basingstoke Canal.
Max, who also lives in Hook, walked out of the garden onto what he thought was a byway.
It was in fact the frozen canal and it immediately cracked underfoot and Max plummeted into the freezing water. The current moved him away from the hole in the ice and he was in danger of drowning.
Lee heard Max’s screams and immediately sought a way to help. He wrapped his legs around a nearby tree stump and leaned out across the ice to reach his friend.
After submerging his face, arms and upper body in the dark murky water, he finally felt Max’s fingertips and with all his strength pulled him to safety.
Farnborough College student Lee noticed Max was displaying early signs of hypothermia, so used all his first aid training to ensure he gradually raised his body temperature.
The teenager was nominated for the award by his mother, Jennie.
She said: “I am so pleased for Lee as he was exceptionally brave. I am proud of how he saved his friend’s life.
“Even though he put his own life at serious risk, his only thoughts were for rescuing his friend on one of the coldest nights of the year.”
Lee said: “I really didn’t expect to win the award but I’m very proud.
“More people should know first aid and have the confidence to use it. I am relieved I could think quickly to save Max’s life.
“I know it was really dangerous and we had so little time, and we could have both died. But when my friend needed me most I was there for him.”
Max, who attends Alton College, added: “Lee winning the award is amazing. He’s the best friend I’ve got. He saved my life – what more can I say?”
Lee was presented with his award by Ms Chesney-Evans.
She said: “It’s an incredible event and all the nominees’ stories are amazing.
“Lee put his life on the line and had the first aid knowledge to be the difference. He’s a very worthy winner.
“It’s been a very emotional night and I’m very proud.
“Lee and Max are about the same age as my Guy was when he died - he would be thrilled to bits.”
Lee was presented with his award during a black tie event at the Lancaster London Hotel on Monday (November 19).
A host of celebrities attended the ceremony and presented many of the awards, including survival expert Ray Mears, Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne and former Premiership footballer Fabrice Muamba.