Alan Soards was 38 when he died during a water rescue training exercise at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Hertfordshire on 2nd October 2012. He had been a firefighter with Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service since 2001.
After finishing his initial training Alan was posted to white watch at Lowestoft Fire Station. The month before he died he became an on-call firefighter at Lowestoft North Fire Station, close to where he lived. His efforts were recognised that same month when both the maritime incident response group and Lowestoft South Fire Station received 'excellence' awards at the Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service awards ceremony.