Hero angler rescues girl from river
Published: July 14, 2008 | 7199th good news item since 2003
A young girl who fell from a boat into the River Nene was just seconds from death when she was snatched from the water by an angler who spotted her plight.
The child, who is thought to be about four years old, was underwater and drowning when angling match organiser Ken Wade raced to the scene and slithered down the river bank on his stomach to reach down and get hold of her wrist.
Today, Mr Wade (57), The Evening Telegraph’s angling correspondent, shrugged off any suggestion that he was a hero and said he was delighted to save the child’s life because he has a grand-daughter of his own.
The drama began on Saturday (12 July) at 7pm as Mr Wade was pegging out for a major fishing match which took place in the city yesterday.
Mr Wade, of High Street, Fletton, Peterborough, was walking along the riverbank – close to the Key Theatre on the Embankment – when he saw two young girls playing on the deck of a moored boat.
He was shocked seconds later to hear piercing screams from the elder of the two girls, and he realised the younger child had vanished into the water.
Mr Wade said: “I had seen them joking around on the boat and thought nothing of it.
“But then, out of the corner of my eye, I realised I had seen what could have been the girl slipping off the boat, and I could hear the other girl screaming.
“I rushed to the boat, fell on to my front, and slid along the bank until I could grab the girl, who was under the water.
“I reached under and managed to catch hold of her wrist. She was a tiny little thing and she was completely submerged.
“I pulled her up on to the river bank. The other girl, who I presumed was her older sister, was still screaming for help.
“A man, who I took to be the girl’s father, was inside the boat. He came out and laid her on the bank and he managed to resuscitate her.
“I then left the family to it. They all looked very shaken.
“The oddest thing about it was a group of Polish men, who had seen what had happened, they ran over to me and started to slap me on the back, calling me a hero.
“They even offered me a drink of beer.”
But Mr Wade, who is the secretary of the Peterborough and District Angling Association, said it wasn’t until he got home that the traumatic incident really hit home.
He added: “I have a grand-daughter myself, and it was when I thought of her that I realised how serious the situation had been.”
Mr Wade’s daughter, Paula Ramsden, said: “We couldn’t believe it when he told us what happened. We are proud of him.”
Mr Wade said today that he hoped the child had now fully recovered from her brush with death.
The ambulance service said there was no record of a 999 call-out.