Lancaster City Council staff honoured after saving drowning swimmer

Stuart Glover (Sports Development & Facilities Manager) presents certificates to Brad Smith, Joanna Hurst, Claudia Russell and Roberto Jimenez.
Stuart Glover (Sports Development & Facilities Manager) presents certificates to Brad Smith, Joanna Hurst, Claudia Russell and Roberto Jimenez.

Five members of staff who saved a customer at Salt Ayre Leisure Centre from drowning have been recognised at Lancaster City Council’s annual awards ceremony.

Joe Hitchmough, Brad Smith, Joanna Hurst, Claudia Russell and Roberto Jimenez rescued Geoff Smyth in a dramatic rescue in October this year.

Winners and nominees at the Lancaster City Council awards.

Winners and nominees at the Lancaster City Council awards.

Geoff, who lives in Bolton-le-Sands with his wife Carolyn, was taking a swim after a fitness class in October when he fell ill and dropped to the bottom of the pool.

Joe dived in to rescue Geoff, with Brad and Joanna bringing him on to poolside, performing CPR and ensuring his lungs were clear of water, with assistance from Claudia and Roberto.

He was taken by ambulance to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and is now well on the road to recovery.

To mark their efforts, they were presented with a special recognition award at the council’s annual Celebrating Success awards.

The awards acknowledge the commitment of the city council’s employees and those who go the extra mile to deliver exceptional service.

Also receiving an award was the team from Recycling Crew 2, who earlier this year went above and beyond the call of duty to search for some missing toys after a father accidentally put his daughter’s favourite teddies out with the rubbish.

Other categories included awards for Apprentice of the Year, Money Saving Initiative & Income Generation, and Team of the Year.

There were also presentations to staff who had completed 25 years of service, an ILM management course, and to the nine apprentices who recently completed their studies.

Kieran Keane, Lancaster City Council’s chief executive, said: “Every day of the year the council is responsible for providing a vast range of essential services that have a positive impact on the lives of residents, visitors and businesses.

“We can only do that thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff, many of whom go above and beyond to ensure we are able to make a real difference to the lives of our communities.

“The Celebrating Success awards are a fantastic way for the council to recognise and showcase these achievements and say ‘thank you’ for the hard work and commitment of its staff.”