Fundraising tribute to Plamen Petkov who saved girl in West Wittering

ONE year after the death of ‘hero’ Plamen Petkov, a tribute to him has raised over £5,000 for the RNLI.

Mr Petkov, 32, lost his life at West Wittering beach one year ago today, on May 26, 2012, when he saved a five-year-old girl from drowning.

The family and friends of Mr Petkov set up the ‘Forever by the Sea’ fund, and said: “We would like to direct the support of those who have been moved by Plamen’s bravery to the RNLI in their efforts to make Britain’s beaches safer.”

The donations page online has far raised £5,051.49 for the charity which patrols Britain’s coastline.

At the inquest into Mr Petkov’s death, assistant deputy coroner Joe Turner said Mr Petkov had shown ‘extraordinary bravery’ in going to rescue the child.

“With no regard for his own safety he dived in and, while saving her life, he became exhausted and tragically drowned,” he said.

Gemma Nightingale, RNLI tribute funds coordinator, said: “We were honoured that the family of Plamen Petkov chose to remember his life with a Forever by the Sea fund last year.

“It is a fitting tribute that this young man’s ultimate generosity of spirit has been reflected in the generosity of all those who have donated so far.

“Plamen’s family established the fund with the aim of assisting the RNLI in our efforts to make Britain’s beaches safer.

“We continue to run beach safety awareness work such as Beach to City and Hit the Surf, programmes which rely entirely on voluntary donations. “In the local area we have also established new RNLI lifeguard patrols in Littlehampton and Portsmouth this season.

“To put the fund’s importance into context, £5,000 is enough to train 10 lifeguards for the year.”

Mr Petkov was also posthumously honoured with the Honorary Decoration of St George – the highest civilian award for bravery – in his home country Bulgaria.

There is a memorial oak plaque and a bench at West Wittering Beach in tribute to Mr Petkov, which had been approved by his mother.

Mr Petkov’s family will hold a private memorial service this weekend to remember him.

To donate to the RNLI or to leave a tribute to Mr Petkov, visit the website rnli.tributefunds.com/fund/Plamen+Petkov