PC nominated for bravery award speaks of his actions during Whaley Bridge dam crisis

A police officer has spoken out about his actions during the Toddbrook crisis saying he is ‘old and stupid’ and not brave.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 1:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 2:13 pm

PC Geoff Marshall who has been nominated for the 2020 Police Bravery Awards, which had to be postponed because of the pandemic, has been praised for selflessly risking his life to try and secure the dam wall in August 2019.

Speaking at the Police Federation’s Annual Conference he revealed he would not have been able to live with himself if a young officer had volunteered in his place and something had happened to them.

PC Geoff Marshall, a hero during the Toddbrook Reservoir crisis

During the virtual conference, TV’s Mark Durden-Smith, host of the yearly Police Bravery Awards, asked Geoff why he volunteered.

He said: “You just make that decision at the time. It came down to me being old and stupid.

“I couldn’t have lived with myself if the dam had gone and a younger officer had been at risk. Some of them have children at home.”

PC Geoff Marshall was off-duty on August 1, 2019 when news emerged that the reservoir might give way - meaning complete catastrophe for people below in Whaley Bridge.

The officer - part of a specialist search team with experience of working at heights - told how he and other members were asked to ‘go and save the dam’.

Despite the fact the dam was at huge risk of collapsing, PC Marshall, along with other officers and engineers, spent a nerve-wracking two hours placing sandbags on the wall to help secure the reservoir.

Before he descended on to the wall where he would be passed the sandbags from volunteers above, he was told by an engineer at the scene he would only have between 30 seconds and two minutes to get off the dam if it collapsed.

PC Marshall, who has been with the force for more than 25 years, said his wife, Jennifer, was proud but not overly impressed when he returned home following the incident.

“She called me an idiot,” he revealed.

PC Marshall, who has received a Chief Constable’s commendation, is among 92 other police officers nominated across the country.

The 2020 ceremony has been postponed repeatedly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with it hopefully happening this October.

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