West Linton rescue lands Peebles policeman with bravery award

Sergeant David Rourke receives his award from Chief Inspector Iain Livingstone.
Sergeant David Rourke receives his award from Chief Inspector Iain Livingstone.

An Peebles police officer who rescued an elderly couple from their West Linton during the last winter’s Beast from the East storm has collected a bravery award for his efforts.

Sergeant David Rourke fought his way on foot through 12ft high snow drifts in plummeting temperatures to reach Myra and Roger Lukehurst, only realising he had successfully found them when he realised he was standing on their roof.

Their home had been entirely engulfed in snow and several rescue attempts by locals had failed.

The 32-year-old abandoned his 4x4 and made his way across fields to reach the pensioners, who were running dangerously low on medical supplies and were completely out of heating fuel. He created a path to allow the Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team to rescue the couple and their two dogs.

Sergeant Rourke said: “It’s a privilege to be nominated, but on the day I was just doing what I joined the police to do, assist people at their time of need.

“The elderly couple were trapped with 12 foot snow drifts, and even an attempt to get them out with a tractor had failed.

“They had no heating and were running out of supplies of medicine and the closest main road, the A72, was completely closed for its entire length through the Borders.

“The house was literally being buried in the snow to the point at one end I was standing on the roof of the house. I dug down in to the front door, spoke to the occupants and whilst waiting on the mountain rescue I essentially created a snow path to help them get out safely.

“It also goes without saying that the volunteers of Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue provided us with invaluable assistance which played a major role in ensuring we were able to work effectively in keeping people safe during the worst weather conditions I have seen during my service.”

Sergeant Rourke collected his award from chief inspector Iain Livingstone at the force’s Tulliallan training centre last Thursday.

Susan Deacon, chair of Scottish Police Authority, said: “Our police service works tirelessly to keep the people of Scotland safe and I am constantly inspired and humbled by the courage and commitment shown by officers, staff and members of the public who go above and beyond to come to the aid of others. These acts of bravery represent the very best of public service and the very best of humanity and I am pleased that we have this opportunity to recognise and applaud each and every one of these exceptional people.”