Bravery award for Lyme fisherman

Harry May honoured for his vain attempt to save a severely disabled woman whose wheelchair rolled off the harbour wall

A Lyme Regis fisherman who desperately fought to rescue a woman when her electric wheelchair plunged into the sea is to receive a national honour for his bravery.

Harry May dived repeatedly into the water in a vain attempt to save 20-year-old Clair Perkins, last October.

The severely disabled woman, from Solihull, had been waiting to board a cruise when her wheelchair rolled off Victoria Pier.

Mr May was amongst the first to try to save her. But his attempts were hampered by the depth of water, the lack of visibility and the enormous weight of the special wheelchair.

At the time he told The Herald how rescuers had faced an impossible task.

He said: “She was very disabled and it wasn’t an ordinary wheelchair.

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“It was terribly heavy and eventually took eight people to pull it up out of the harbour.”

This week Mr May said he was “humbled and honoured” to be chosen to receive the Royal Humane Society testimonial on vellum.

He was nominated for the award, along with South West Air Ambulance paramedic Nigel Lang, of Newton Abbott, aby West Dorset coroner Michael Johnston, after the inquest into Ms Perkins’ death.