A COURAGEOUS Lillington woman has been honoured after rushing to help a woman in a wheelchair who was being attacked.
While celebrating her 60th birthday on holiday in Chichester last summer, Georgina Tibbits thought nothing of stepping in when she saw a man hitting a woman in a wheelchair.
Georgina, who has spent many years working in the care industry, raced over and put herself between the attacker and victim.
Speaking to the Observer, Georgina said: “I didn’t think about what I was doing. Instinct took over and I just had to try to stop him.”
The man, believed to be in his 40s, was initially undeterred by Georgina’s intervention and turned his attention on her.
“He was shouting at me, very close to my face. Witnesses have since told me that he hit me, but I can’t remember exactly what happened in all of the chaos.”
Georgina stood her ground and remained calm. “I just kept telling him to go away, and eventually he did.”
It is believed the attacker knew the victim, also in her 40s, who lives in sheltered accommodation and suffers from Huntington disease. Georgina spoke to the victim who told her the man had already assaulted her earlier that day.
“She showed me her bruised face and was crying. It was awful.”
Fortunately police caught up with the attacker and made an arrest.
In the days after the incident, Georgina was in regular contact with West Sussex Police and the man was charged with assaulting both the woman in the wheelchair and Georgina.
He received a ten-week prison sentence, and a restraining order against the victim.
When Georgina received a letter from West Sussex Police informing her she was to receive an award at a special ceremony, she was completely shocked.
“I didn’t want to go initially, I’m just an ordinary person.”
Eventually persuaded by her family, she took the trip to Sussex with her husband and received a Divisional Commendation from West Sussex Police.
“It was a brilliant day. With so much negative news and media, it was just amazing to celebrate all the wonderful, good things that people do.”