Nov 20, 2009

Flying Police In Cumbria Rescue

Today's tv news headlines in Britain have focused on the terrible floods in Cumbria (close to the border with Scotland). Tragically a policeman trying to save others lost his own life when a bridge collapsed from under him and tonight many people are unable to return to their homes tonight with some having been rescued by emergency services including RAF Rescue helicopters.

I happened to be on a chance visit to Carlisle Airport in Cumbria today with my family where, thankfully, the weather was not as bad. Taking lunch in the cafe we were sat next to a table of 3 policemen who were clearly taking a much needed though short break. I could tell from their uniforms that they were not the standard type of police you see on the streets of Britain. In the light of the breaking news I asked if they had been on flood duty. 'Yes' came the answer. They had been out at Seaton (near Workington where the policeman had died earlier in the day). One of the 3 turned and said proudly that they had already rescued one person and they were now about to go back. They were from the Lancashire Constabulary and had come up specially to help with the rescue operation.

I then realised that these were 'flying policeman' and their helicopter was standing on the tarmac outside. They got up to leave but before the last of the 3 (who turned out to be called Phil) went out of the door I asked if they liked ice cream. With a broad smile Phil said 'Yes'. His favourite flavour? 'Pralines & Cream' came the reply. I told him that happened to be George W. Bush's favourite too - though I think he was a little bemused by how I might know that! Well, Phil if you read my page on ice cream and famous people you will see it mentioned there.

I asked Phil if he would mind me mentioning our little chat on this blog and he seemed delighted at the thought. Then off he went with his 2 colleagues John and Stuart. They boarded their helicopter and took off flying westwards into the distance and towards the flooded part of Cumbria. I managed to grab this very short video clip of their helicopter as it left.

On behalf of all the people in Cumbria who so badly needed help today ... thank you Phil, John, Stuart and all your other colleagues in the emergency services for your great work. When you are next off duty, make sure you get an ice cream treat ... if I could buy you one I would!

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