Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Tragic Colin showed the true meaning of courage

Colin Polland, who was killed in a drowning incident in Annalong
Colin Polland, who was killed in a drowning incident in Annalong

The word brave gets bandied around these days to the point of meaningless.

Everybody on reality TV is "so brave". They're facing their demons, moving outside their comfort zone and should be so, so proud of themselves.

Brave is getting Botox. Or giving up chocolate for a couple of weeks. It's battling a bad cold. Or asking the boss for a pay rise.

But genuine, shining, extraordinary bravery, the sort that humbles and astounds and rips at the heart and moves us to tears, still exists.

And the very definition of such courage is Colin Polland.

At the weekend Colin died as he attempted to rescue 15-year-old Kevin O'Hare from a pool at a disused quarry near Annalong.

The young boy had been swimming with friends when he got into difficulties and disappeared beneath the water. Someone ran for help. Mr Polland, who was nearby, rushed without a thought for his own safety to save the teenager. Tragically, horrifically, they both died.

Police officers who arrived on the scene soon after, tore off their uniforms and jumped in to try to reach the pair. They too deserve the utmost commendation for their bravery. No dithering there over health and safety concerns.

Colin Polland was only 39 years old. Like young Kevin he had so very much living still to do.

Your heart just goes out to both families. They have lost two dearly loved lads in a dark tragedy that will haunt the area for ever.

But equally, Colin Polland's name will be forever associated with selfless heroism.

Of bravery of the sort most of us can hardly countenance.

He died a true hero.

May he and Kevin rest in peace.

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