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‘It was like a God send’ – heroic lorry driver rescues woman in labour stranded on Mersea Island

PUBLISHED: 16:54 08 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:54 08 January 2018

Kelly Brinkman and Paulo Pereira with their daughter Lillie Rose Maria Pereira.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Kelly Brinkman and Paulo Pereira with their daughter Lillie Rose Maria Pereira. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A pregnant mother who was stranded on Mersea Island when she entered labour has said it seemed like “divine intervention” when a lorry driver came to her rescue.

An Emmitt Plant delivery driver Justin Tacey took a stranded couple across the Mersea causeway so that they could get to hospital to deliver their baby. Picture: GREGG BROWNAn Emmitt Plant delivery driver Justin Tacey took a stranded couple across the Mersea causeway so that they could get to hospital to deliver their baby. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Kelly Brinkman, 32, was being rushed to hospital after her water broke on Thursday but found her journey blocked by the flooded Strood causeway.

With no route off the island and time running out, Miss Brinkman and her partner Paulo Pereira had started to panic - until a heroic lorry driver came to their aid.

Justin Tacey, 45, was returning to base after making deliveries to a caravan park on the island when he noticed the couple in distress and offered to help.

He loaded their car on the back of his eight-wheel truck and made the half mile crossing through tidal waters. Safely on the mainland, the couple were able to continue their journey to Colchester General Hospital - where baby Lillie Pereira was delivered by Caesarean section.

The Strood is impassable during high tides, particularly for smaller vehicles. Picture: SEANA HUGHES/ARCHANTThe Strood is impassable during high tides, particularly for smaller vehicles. Picture: SEANA HUGHES/ARCHANT

Miss Brinkman, who is recovering at home with Mr Pereira, Lillie and her eldest daughter Olivia, has offered a “massive thanks” to Mr Tacey, saying “we could not praise him enough”.

She said a vicar had also offered assistance beside the causeway. And although her request for him to “part the waters” had not been possible, she said Mr Tacey’s lorry had been all the divine help they needed. “It was like a God send,” she added. “We don’t often see massive trucks like that on the island so for Justin to have been there at the right place and the right time seemed like divine intervention.”

Within half an hour of reaching hospital Lillie made her arrival into the world. “If Justin hadn’t been there to take us across, there’s a good chance I’d have given birth beside the Strood,” Miss Brinkman added.

The West Mersea Coastguard, which was on the scene, has also paid tribute to Mr Tacey, calling him a “true gentleman”.

Kelly Brinkman's newborn daughter Lillie Rose Maria Pereira.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNKelly Brinkman's newborn daughter Lillie Rose Maria Pereira. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mr Tacey, a father-of-four from Diss, said he had been surprised by the reaction.

“I was just doing what anyone else would have done,” he said. “I had the means to do it and so I couldn’t have just left her there.”

Mr Tacey has been a driver for Emmitt Plant for five years, making deliveries all over the region – but says Thursday was the first occasion he has helped deliver a pregnant woman to hospital.


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