A woman has praised a quick-thinking hotel porter who saved her life after she sleep-walked more than half a mile from her home – into the SEA.
Marie Lord, 39, got out of bed at 1.30am, let herself out of the house and walked through the streets onto the beach at the seaside town where she lives.
She scaled a number of steep concrete steps – which she is normally unable to walk down without the aid of her husband – before walking into the water.
Marie suddenly awoke with the taste of sea salt and grit in her mouth as waves crashed around her on the shoreline.
Disorientated and freezing, the managed to crawl up the beach and cried out for help as she attempted to scale rocks.
Luckily her cries were heard by Lee Searle, a night porter at a hotel near the beach in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, who helped Marie up and called 999.
Marie was treated for the early onset of hypothermia before she returned to her home – more than half a mile away from where she was found.
She has since met up with Lee to praise his quick-thinking actions, which she says saved her life.
“It’s absolutely mind blowing to think about what could have happened,” she said.
“All I remember is seeing is a flashing star and it all seemed like a dream.
“Sometimes, depending on the wind, we can hear the sea from our house.
“I remember thinking ‘gosh, it’s ever so clear tonight, it’s like I’m there’ – but obviously I was.”
The incident happened about two weeks ago after Marie – who has not suffered an episode of sleep walking since she was 13 – settled down for the night as normal.
She explained: “I went to bed as normal, next to my husband, and did all the usual things – rolling on to the comfiest side etc.”
The walk from her house to the beach would normally take around seven minutes and is dangerous in places.
Marie said: “There’s loads of steps and slopes. Concrete steps that I don’t usually go down because they are so tall and steep.
“I’m only 4ft 10 and I have really short legs so I don’t usually go down them without my husband or some kind of aid.”
The next thing she remembers is waking up staring at the stars and scrambling out of the water.
Luckily Lee, 21, who was three hours into his night shift at the seafront Anchor Head Hotel, heard her cries.
Marie said: “Lee heard me when I was shouting ‘help me, help me help me’. But I just don’t know what was real and what was a dream – it’s just so bizarre.
“Lee came out and said ‘what’s the matter?’. Then he saw how confused I was and how wet I was and that’s when he called 999.
“He got me to stay exactly where I was, which was difficult as I wanted to go back home to my husband.
“I was heading into a really bad way. I was told that if Lee hadn’t responded to me as he did I wouldn’t have made it home.”
“Thankful doesn’t even come close, it really doesn’t.
“In my delirium I ended up telling him I’d give him a roast so he’s coming around for a roast soon.
“He was so good to me that night. His parents must be so proud of him. I’m proud of him and he’s not even in my family.
“I hope he’s always in our lives really – he’s fantastic and for him to be 21 and be that savvy is amazing.”
Lee took her up the steps to the hotel and quickly wrapped her in blankets, keeping her conscious with conversation.
Paramedics arrived and took Marie to Weston General Hospital where she was treated for the onset of hypothermia before she returned home.
Lee, who has worked at the hotel for two years, said: “It had started out as a normal night at work.
“Then, all of a sudden, I heard this faint noise. I went outside and then I just saw Marie. She had been sleep walking, she was soaking wet.
“The hotel backs on to the sea front and she had been walking on the beach. I called 999 straight away.
“It turns out she had the onset of hypothermia. If I hadn’t found her I don’t know what might have happened to her.
“It’s not everyday you find a sleepwalker on the beach while you’re working.”
Hotel manager, Janet Day, said: “Lee’s a very loyal and caring member of staff and I’m proud that he stayed so calm and didn’t panic when faced with such a challenging situation.”
Marie’s husband, Keith also praised Lee’s quick thinking.
He added: “I was obviously shocked and it didn’t immediately sink in, but I am also very grateful to Lee for what he did for Marie.”