Bravery award for Lynton Valley of Rocks cliff fall hero
- Credit: Devon & Cornwall Police
A man who went ‘above and beyond’ to save the life of a young boy after a cliff fall at Lynton has received a prestigious bravery award.
Jozef Mordawska received a Royal Humane Society certificate of bravery for his actions in helping to save the life of an 11-year-old boy who had fallen 200-feet from cliffs at Valley of Rocks on April 5, 2018.
The owner of Bugtopia the Zoo at Rutland Water in Yorkshire was on holiday in the area with his family when they heard the boy from Los Angeles had disappeared, so he and his daughter Anna-Rose, then 14, joined the search.
Jozef believed he knew where the child might have fallen and he was proved right when they found the youngster severely injured at the bottom of a 200-foot cliff in Wringcliff Bay - he had to climb over car-sized boulders to reach him.
They went back up the path to alert the emergency services and Jozef made his way back to the boy to stay with him.
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Jozef is first aid trained and did what he could for the youngster, but knew better than to try and move him.
But the tide was racing in, he had no mobile phone signal and feared he might have to carry him to safety - thankfully he spotted the Ilfracombe lifeboat and was able to hail them and guide them in to shore.
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The boy was airlifted to Derriford Hospital and then transferred by air to Bristol Children's Hospital where he has undergone a number of operations.
He is now on the road to recovery.
Jozef was presented with his award at the Devon and Cornwall Police Awards in Plymouth and said it had been lovely to be recognised.
He told the Gazette: "To be honest it's given me a bit of closure. It was quite a difficult thing to do as I have a child the same age, so when I found the boy I was thinking 'this could have been mine'.
"I just want to help people and I can't leave someone in a situation, I just can't do it."
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: "It is humbling to see members of the public going above and beyond to help others in need.
"Jozef is a credit to our community and his selfless actions in placing himself in potential danger to help a young boy is truly commendable."
North Devon Superintendent Toby Davies added: "It is an amazing story and without the actions of Jozef this would have been far worse.
"He really did go over and above, and was alert enough to recognise what might have happened. He put himself at some risk scrambling down the cliff and facing the incoming tide. Impressive stuff."