A CITY rescuer who has saved thousands of lives has been recognised by Scotland's top brass for his heroism.

Dr George Parsonage was given the Bravery Award by Chief Constable Iain Livingston in this year's celebration of excellence by the national force. 

"It is a great honour," said Dr Parsonage. "It is nice for the police to recognise what we do. 

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Glasgow Times:

Credit: Jamie Simpson

"I was born into this, I've always been doing it.

"I don't want to go boasting but I have now rescued around 2000 people."

He is now in charge of the organisation his father ran, which has been saving people from the cold and dangerous waters of the River Clyde since 1790. 

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Even while celebrating his well-deserved award, Dr Parsonage's thoughts turned to ways people could be helped and educated about the dangers of being near treacherous depths.

Glasgow Times:

Credit: Mark Shields

"I was thinking about the man who drowned last week trying to save his dog from the water," he said. "Every time we report something like that, we need to be saying, 'If you are near frozen water, please, keep your dog on a lead'.

"To me, that is at least every bit as important about the rescue at recovery. The prevention work from the Humane Society and Glasgow city council has probably saved thousands of lives." 

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He views officers, some of whom were also recognised for heroic feats in this year's round of awards, as close colleagues. 

Glasgow Times:

Credit: Martin Shields

Dr Parsonage said: "An awful lot of my friends over the years have been police officers. It's not a social friendship, it's a working friendship. You work shoulder to shoulder. 

"I've never been a police officer but I have been as close as you can imagine. Sometimes those colleagues you work shoulder to shoulder with, your lives depend on each other, so it is nice to be recognised by them, isn't it?"

Dr Parsonage is now semi-retired and works as a consultant to the Society, assisting the new officer William Graham, who took the reins in 2019. 

Mr Livingston said: "Today is an important opportunity to recognise and celebrate the outstanding policing which occurs all over Scotland, day in, day out, and to commend members of the public for the selfless acts of bravery and courage to help their fellow citizens.

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“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all our winners and nominees and thank them for their commitment to public service."

Two Glasgow officers, constables David Johnston and Craig Barr, were also commended for their bravery, as well as a number of other cops throughout the country. 

Humza Yousaf, the Justice Secretary, said: "The Bravery and Excellence Awards allow us to reflect on selfless acts of courage which have made a real difference to people at their greatest time of need.

"I want to thank all the officers, staff and members of the public, who were nominated for awards, for their service and support in these challenging times."