Piggy-back hero honoured

YOU'RE my hero!

By The Newsroom
Monday, 17th September 2007, 9:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd October 2007, 9:11 am

A plucky army cadet who carried an elderly woman on his back to help her escape raging floodwaters was reunited with the grateful pensioner -who says he saved her life.

Brave Lance Goodman, aged 16, was honoured at a special ceremony attended by 86-year-old Evelyn Butterworth who told the young army cadet: "I would have drowned without you."

Great grandmother Evelyn was caught up in the devastating weather in Sheffield on June 25 as she tried to make her way home to Longley.

She spent almost seven hours trying to get back and was dripping wet and frightened when Lance - who has since been promoted to Lance Corporal - came to her rescue.

Evelyn's journey home had begun at around 2pm when she got on a bus from the city centre.

But after a slow journey, all of the passengers were told to get off at Shalesmoor as the water was too deep for the bus so she continued the journey on foot. But several hours later, at around 8pm, she had only made it as far as Sheffield Wednesday's football ground - and the water was rising.

"There was water everywhere I turned and I was scared because I am petrified of water - I can't swim," said widower Evelyn.

"Then I heard this young man saying 'you'll have to come across' and I said 'no the water's too deep' but he said 'you'll just have to get on my back then'."

Lance, from Wisewood, pulled Evelyn onto his back and began to wade across at the corner of Herries Road but the floodwaters had washed away a roadworks barrier leaving a gaping hole in the road exposed - which he and Evelyn fell into.

"We went right underneath the water and Lance cut his leg," said Evelyn.

"But somehow he managed to pull me out and then he dragged me through the water to the other side. I can honestly say I would have drowned without him."

Lance, whose detachment meets at the Somme Barracks on Gell Street, Sheffield, was helped by colleagues who were lifting children and prams out of the water.

The modest cadet, who needed treatment for his knee injury after it got infected by the dirty floodwaters, said: "I only did what anyone would have done - I saw Mrs Butterworth struggling and I went to help.

"After I got her out of the water I used some of the fencing that had been swept away to try to secure the hole so no-one else would fall in and I tied some ropes for people to use to pull themselves across with."

Lance, who is studying catering at college, is now considering a full-time career in the army.

He was reunited with Evelyn at the Somme Barracks after she spent weeks trying to track him down so she could hand him a cash reward as a thank-you.

"I know that Lance did not expect a reward from me but it is such a pleasure, especially in today's society where we see a lot of bad, to find a young man who is doing good and trying to find his own way in life," said Evelyn, who herself served as a cook in the army during World War II. "His courage deserves rewarding."


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