SLIDESHOW: Northants Police Awards 2013

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A police team who saved the life of a drowning man just before Christmas last year were among those recognised at Northamptonshire Police’s annual awards.

Det Insp Nick Lyall, PC Leanne Laren, PC Ashley McMahon and Chris Hockey, who pulled the man from the River Nene in Thrapston, were given a Chief Constable’s Commendation for saving the man’s life.

Insp Samantha Ryall, Supt Mike Maywood

Insp Samantha Ryall, Supt Mike Maywood

He had slipped into the river while playing with his seven-year-old daughter, and was taken to Walgrave Hospital by air ambulance after police plucked him from the freezing and swollen river.

Det Insp Lyall said: “He wouldn’t have survived if we hadn’t been there. He was going under and coming back up and going under again. If we had been a couple of minutes later he would have gone.

“You don’t do it for that reason, but it’s nice to be recognised.”

He added that the fact the man was able to return to his family for Christmas was reward enough.

DC Eleri Neale with the Superintendent's Award

DC Eleri Neale with the Superintendent's Award

Meanwhile DC Eleri Neale collected the Superintendent’s Award for her work in bringing paedophile Timothy Ford to justice.

Ford, of Kettering, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years in March after pleading guilty to 23 counts after paying a Filipino family to sexually abuse children over the internet.

DC Neale said: “It’s an absolute delight to be recognised, especially for such a serious case. It was an 18-month operation to get the full scale of what he was doing. It’s the best feeling in the world to know my work has stopped more children being abused.”

Another winner from the north of the county was Special Inspector Samantha Ryall, who covers the East Northamptonshire sector.

She picked up the Commandant’s Cup for Special Constable of the Year for her work with the volunteer Special Constabulary, to which she dedicates about 16 hours a week – which she combines with final year study for an honours degree in crime and policing. She is also a single mum to two children.

Insp Ryall said: “It’s a really good, worthwhile job. It’s nice to be recognised for the work you put in. It’s an honour to receive an award.”

More winners included the team from Operation Scorpion, which investigated the murder of John Kiernan in Kettering in 2011. The team – Det Insp Steve Woliter, Det Insp Louise Hemingway, DC Jon Brinkman, DC Julia McInally and DC Dick Eady – had been commended by the trial judge.

PC Bob Jones, who is retiring this year, picked up the Police Federation Lifetime Achievement Award for his service in Rushden. Sgt Julie Mead, from the Kettering safer community team, was recognised for her long service.