TWO 15-year-old schoolgirl friends from Warrington have reached the finals of Amplifon Awards For Brave Britons 2021 after saving the life of a 74-year-old angler who was pushed into the River Mersey.
Ellie Hughes and Khloe Woods, both 15, have reached the final four of the Young Hero category in global-hearing specialist Amplifon’s search for the ‘Best of British’ heroes.
They will now be invited to the virtual awards presentation on Tuesday, October 5. The event will be hosted by BBC1 TV Breakfast and Radio 5 Live presenter Rachel Burden and Falklands War hero Simon Weston will be guest of honor.
On a chilly day in April this year, Ellie and Khloe were out for a walk when a group of youths shouted ‘there’s a man in the river’ close to where they were.
Ellie said: “We walked faster at that point, just in case anyone was actually there and in trouble and when we saw the man in the water holding onto a branch, we just immediately started to help him out.”
An image taken from a video of the incident shows a boy charging into the back of the man as he was fishing, catapulting the pensioner into the river. As the old man floundered in the water, the youths ran away laughing.
The girls formed a human chain to help haul the man out of the water, who was holding onto a branch to keep himself afloat.
Khloe said at the time: “Ellie had hold of me and I reached out and grabbed the man. I was worried that when he let go of the branch I might lose my grip and he would have gone down the river.
Ellie said: “It was very scary. All the time I had hold of Khloe I was saying ‘please don’t fall’.”
Through their heroic efforts, the girls managed to get the man to safety even though he was soaking wet and he told them it was the first time he had ventured out since lockdown to do some fishing.
Although the girls were shaking with worry, they asked the man if he needed an ambulance but he insisted on walking despite suffering with a bleeding nose.
Ellie and Khloe have since met up with the victim’s family who thanked them for what they did that day.
The victim’s daughter said the girls had saved her father by holding his head out of the water and pulling him to the bank despite his jacket being full of water. She said her father kept being upset when recalling the incident because he feared but for the girls help that day, he might have had a heart attack and drowned.
Ellie said: “We didn’t really think about what we were doing that day but the man could have been family and you would do the same for them if they were ever in trouble.”