'Hero' saves boy from drowning in Doncaster canal

Top picture: Bradley Gannon, 13, 
Bottom picture: Clare Laybourne, 42, with her son Tom Laybourne, 16,
Top picture: Bradley Gannon, 13, Bottom picture: Clare Laybourne, 42, with her son Tom Laybourne, 16,
1
Have your say

A Doncaster boy who fell into a canal when he fainted from the heat was saved from drowning by a teenage ‘guardian angel’.

Angling-loving schoolboy Bradley Gannon, aged 13, was pulled from the water by hero Tom Laybourne, aged 16, who jumped into the canal when rescue attempts from the water’s edge were failing.

Tom’s mum, Clare Laybourne, said today: “Tom was such a hero, he didn’t even think about himself when he did that.”

Bradley had gone fishing with Tom’s younger brother, Ben Stevens, aged 13.

He suddenly passed out from the heat and plunged into the canal, to the horror of his panicking young friend, who was trying in vain to pull him to safety.

Luckily, Clare and Tom had gone along for the fishing trip and were further up the canal when an unconscious Bradley slid into the water. Clare says the pair heard a ‘big splash’ and rushed up the canal.

Clare, aged 42, of Princess Avenue, Stainforth, said: “Because they were in the bit of the canal closer to the bridge the water there was much deeper and there was about a three foot drop down to the water.

“I couldn’t quite reach him from where I was and his body was all limp.Ben was panicking but was trying to get him to hold onto a fishing pole, because he’s been trained at Sea Cadets and knows to try and get them to the shore.

“Tom is 6ft 3ins so was able reach him, but couldn’t quite pull him in, so just jumped in.

“The water was up to his chest, but he managed to get Bradley and pull him to safety.

“After he got him out of the water Bradley started having a panic attack, but calmed down after about 10 minutes.

“Neither of us were supposed to be there, we just decided to come along at the last minute. And thank God we did.”

Bradley’s mum, Angela Sears, aged 33, of Moorends, said: “I think Tom must be his guardian angel, because he wasn’t even supposed to go with them but thank God he did.

“I’d put suncream on Bradley and always tell him to drink lots of fluids. I did everything I could but you can’t predict things like this.

“I think it just shows how safe you need to be in the sun.”

A South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue spokesman has urged people to be careful around water following a tragic incident in Rotherham yesterday when an 11-year-old boy plunged into the

Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation Canal and died (see page two).

Angela added: “I am so grateful to Tom for what he did for Bradley.

“When I heard about that poor boy in Rotherham, I just kept thinking that could have been Bradley.”

A SYRF spokesman said: “Safety officers say children and young people should avoid open water – like rivers and lakes – because they may not always be aware of the danger it poses.

“River flows can be unpredictable and water is often deeper, colder and faster than expected. People should enjoy water safely in swimming pools or safer, specialist facilities instead.”