Mother of the hero from Sutton who drowned saving a child speaks out
The mother of a hero who sacrificed his life to save a child has spoken of her unbelievable pain.
Plamen Petkov, 32, an electrician from Sutton drowned while saving a girl who was being carried out to sea on an inflatable at West Wittering beach, East Sussex, on Saturday, May 26.
His mother, Antoaneta Petkova, 56, from Sutton, said she wants there to be more attention grabbing signs to make people aware of dangerous water.
The family have set up a fund in order to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Mrs Petkova said: "We set up the page - the Forever by the Sea Fund and the response since we started was very good. So far we have £1,480.
"That was a very spontaneous decision after the shock in the initial week.
"We were thinking - what can we do to stop it happening again. The pain is unbelievable - it’s so sad.
"It’s not getting easier - I still can’t believe it. It’s like I’m living in a surreal world - my life turned upside down.
"He had a very very big heart. He was always ready to help other people.
"He was hard working - he didn’t smoke, drink or go to nightclubs.
"Most of the time he was very informed - he knew a lot about different subjects. He was very open minded.
"It is a timeless quality to be selfless - what he did reminded all of us there are things like that in a person’s soul."
She said Mr Petkov was good with computers and was always smiling. He was a member of the National Trust and liked visiting parks and beaches.
The family of the girl Mr Petkov saved have written to his family and said they will raise their children to be good people like him and that all their life he will be their hero.
Mr Petkov who was Bulgarian born was awarded the Honourary Decoration, St George, by the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria. This represents the highest distinction awarded to a civilian for acts of self-sacrifice and courage.
In the future his family who have lived in Sutton for 10 years and members of the Bulgarian community in London hope to put a memorial on the beach.
To support the fund visit rnli.tributefunds.com/fund or send a cheque with a covering note giving Plamen Petkov's name to: RNLI, West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1HZ (01202 663504).