Plamen Petkov, the Bulgarian-British dual national, has been awarded posthumously the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his heroic saving of a young girl from drowning.
Queen Elizabeth II’s conferring of the rarely-awarded medal was announced in the latest list of Civilian Gallantry Awards, published on December 12 2013.
Petkov died while saving a young girl from drowning on May 26 2012 at West Wittering beach, Sussex.
Petkov’s mother will be invited to receive the medal on his behalf at Buckingham Palace.
Just more than 1000 medals have been awarded since its inception in 1974.
Giles York, Deputy Chief Constable of the Sussex Police, said that he was certain that, had it not been for Petkov’s actions, “we would have been dealing with the death of a child, possibly lost at sea”.
Jonathan Allen, UK ambassador in Sofia, said that he was very proud that the Queen had awarded the medal to Petkov for his exemplary bravey. “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, Allen said.
“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’,” the British ambassador said.
“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.
“Plamen Petkov is a true Bulgarian hero. The United Kingdom honours his heroism and his sacrifice,” Allen said.