A LIFESAVER who sacrificed everything to rescue a drowning child has received a posthumous medal.
Plamen Petkov, 32, died on May 26 last year as he saved a five-year-old girl from the sea at West Wittering.
The dual Bulgarian British national has been awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.
‘I am certain that had it not been for the actions of Mr Petkov we would have been dealing with the death of a child, possibly lost at sea,’ said Giles York, deputy chief constable of Sussex Police.
The British ambassador to Bulgaria, Jonathan Allen, added: ‘I am very proud that her majesty the Queen has decorated Mr Petkov with the gallantry medal for his exemplary bravery. He fully deserves this recognition.
‘Many people were on the beach on the West Wittering on that sunny day in May, but only Plamen Petkov responded to the pleas of the distraught mother and found the inner strength to jump into the treacherous waters.
‘His indomitable courage and complete disregard for his own safety saved the life of the little girl, but unfortunately resulted in his own demise.
‘Plamen Petkov’s noble act moved deeply the British people and the coroner’s officer that dealt with the matter attested to his bravery saying that in her five years on the job that was the most unselfish act she had seen.
‘No words will ever be truly worthy of this deed. And no honour can ever fully repay Plamen Petkov’s sacrifice. But on days such as this we can pay tribute and we can express our gratitude that there are people like him.’
Mr Petkov’s mother will be invited to receive the medal on his behalf at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen’s Gallantry Medal is awarded in extremely rare cases for exemplary acts of bravery.
The medal was introduced in 1974 and only around 1,000 have been awarded since then.