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Praise for ‘humble hero’ who saved crash cyclist from ditch

A hero passer-by has been praised for his quick-thinking actions after rescuing a cyclist stuck in a ditch in an isolated country lane.

Lorraine Van Buren, 48, from Brighton, had been cycling during a holiday in Canterbury when she crashed, landing in muddy water on Tonford Lane near the River Stour.

“I cycle fast and as I went over the cattle grid I came off my bike, over the handle bars and into a ditch,” she said.

Lorraine Van Buren was rescued by Serco worker Matt Hall
Lorraine Van Buren was rescued by Serco worker Matt Hall

“I went under water and the bike landed on top of me. I was up to my waist in water and mud as I’m only short.”

Miss Van Buren was unable to free her legs.

“There was no-one around. I started to panic – I was completely stuck,” she said.

But help was close by.

“Suddenly this guy came running over,” she said. “I had my hand out trying to reach him, but he couldn’t pull me out. He realised he had to go down the bank and try to wrench me out.

“There was no-one around. I started to panic – I was completely stuck" - Lorraine Van Buren

“I was absolutely petrified, I’d gone under the water and I was in shock.”

Eventually, Matt Hall, who works for waste company Serco, managed to pull Miss Van Buren out.

“He rescued me and then a mum and daughter took me to their house in Tonford Lane to make sure I was OK. I had a sprained ankle but that was it. I can’t thank them all enough.”

Neil Jones, contract manager at Serco, said: “I am very proud of Matt.

“His quick-thinking and decisive actions calmed Lorraine and helped get her out of a very tricky situation.

“We are very lucky this selfless, humble man is part of the Serco family.”

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