Award for boater

Published: Friday, 26 February 2010

BOATER John West has received a commendation from Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton for rescuing a family from the Thames.

The former policeman jumped from his boat into the river to rescue a family of a mother and two children who fell into the river at Goring, after the mother fainted on the towpath.

Another child

He reach the woman who had a child clinging to her, but she screamed about her baby, and John realised there was another child in the river, then noticed a hand clinging to her and hoisted a baby out of the water.

He grabbed the baby and handed her to his wife Sue who was on the bank,  but there was no sign of life. John then went back and rescued the woman and the other child. They were airlifted to hospital, but the baby died.

Nice to be recognised

Of the award and rescue, John related:

"I suppose it's nice to be recognised for something like this, but it can't make up for the loss of a child.

"In hindsight it was a dangerous thing to do, but if I hadn't done it, three lives would have been lost. I look back and think is there anything else I could have done?  But I'm content with the fact that I did all I could."

This is not John's first award, as in 1997 he was given a bravery award for saving a suicidal young man from jumping off  a motorway bridge.