TWO police constables who helped deliver a baby in a lay-by have received Sussex Police awards.
PC Jenny Pietersen and PC Roisin Vafaee were presented with certificates for outstanding public service at the West Sussex Divisional Awards in Arundel Castle on Monday.
PC Pietersen, 26, had been in the job for only eight weeks when she was called to help deliver the baby on Wednesday, May 28.
The mother-of-one said she was stunned when she and her colleague PC Vafaee received the call for help from Barry and Beth Marcantonio.
The distressed couple had been stuck in traffic while on the way to Worthing Hospital and had pulled over into a lay-by near the Saltings roundabout in Brighton Road.
PC Pietersen said: “It was such a surreal moment. I had never expected to be delivering a baby as a new officer. But I think being there was the biggest reward for me. It was an incredible moment.”
After baby Thea, the couple’s third child, was born in the car, an ambulance took the family to the hospital, where she weighed in at 8lb 10oz.
Mr and Mrs Marcantonio, both 29, took Thea, who is now six weeks old, to the ceremony to see the pair receive their awards.
PC Pietersen said: “It’s amazing to see how much she has grown in a few weeks. It’s such a lovely experience.
“It’s such an honour for us to receive this award.”
She added that PC Vafaee was ‘incredible’ and ‘so calm’ during the whole incident.
Mrs Marcantonio said: “Jenny and Roisin are both wonderful. They visited me in hospital and gave me flowers.”
Here husband added: “We are both so grateful for what they did. They helped us when we really needed it.”
Chief Inspector Jo Banks explained: “PC Roisin Vafaee and PC Jenny Pietersen were asked for help by a Barry Marcantonio when his wife, Beth Marcantonio, went into labour whilst travelling to hospital.
“PC Pietersen and PC Vafaee calmed Beth and created a private space where, with advice from the operator over the telephone, PC Pietersen and PC Vafaee delivered the baby.
“Both officers demonstrated their commitment to serving the community they live and work in, as highly professional, dedicated and compassionate officers.
“PC Vafaee is commended for her professionalism in a very unique and unexpected situation.”
Hundreds of people packed into Arundel Castle’s stunning Baron’s Hall to witness the awards ceremony.
The event, now in its fourth year of being held inside the historic building, was organised to mark the remarkable efforts of police and members of the public.
Be it the courage of catching criminals or saving people from almost-certain death to helping deliver a baby and showing a steadfast dedication to policing.
Dignitaries from across Sussex joined the celebrations.
During the evening Susan Piper, the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex spoke of her pride for the entire police force and the incredible work many of the officers do.
Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne said a ‘very heartfelt thank-you’ to the award winners.