BRAVE ex-squaddie Adam Colman has been given a top life-saving award after diving into action to rescue his step-mum from a fast-flowing tidal river.
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Christine, aged 52, lost her footing on a river bank, fell into the cold water and was being dragged away by the powerful under-current when their family boating holiday almost ended in tragedy.
But modest South Yorkshire hero Adam said he didn’t think twice about his own safety and jumped in to rescue her when his Army training kicked in.
The 26-year-old, who did two tours in Iraq with the Royal Horse Artillery, had been shown how to survive fully clothed in icy waters in Canada.
So diving in to a chilly River Thurne on the Norfolk Broads was almost sub-tropical for Adam.
He kept his stepmum’s head above water and battled against the tide to get her back to their 45ft pleasure boat, where proud partner Kelly Saffill, 26, and his policeman dad Martin, 55, were on board to help.
“I didn’t think twice or that my own life was at risk,’’ said Adam, now a call centre team leader, of Station Road, Dodworth, Barnsley.
“While I was in the Army I did a lot of adventure training in Canada. I spent time in glacier waters in full kit, jumping in the water and doing different exercises. It’s just about calming your body down in that type of environment. It just kicks in. You don’t even think about it.
“She was panicking but I was there to reassure her she was safe and eventually we got her out.”
Christine, who lives in Staincross, said: “I thought I was going to die. I went right under and opened my eyes.
“It was murky and I just thought, ‘this is it’. There was nothing to grip hold of and it was so, so cold – it was the coldness that panicked me.
“You could feel the strong current underfoot, pushing my legs. It was very scary.
“Then Adam was there. He pulled me to the boat and I grabbed hold of a buoyancy device. As soon as I had something to hold on to I felt fine.
“But at that point even Adam was holding on because the current was pushing us away.
“He deserves every bit of all the attention and the award. I love him to bits.”
Martin, who was able to pull them from the water, told The Star: “If it wasn’t for Adam I’m convinced she wouldn’t be here. I’ve never had emotions like it.”
Adam’s step-mum and dad nominated him for a Royal Humane Society Lifesaving Courage Award for his actions early this year and it was presented to him this week at a civic ceremony by Barnsley Mayor Coun Karen Dyson.