THOUGH GARETH Southgate’s England footballers have, rightly, been earning plaudits for their humility at the World Cup, they, too, are in awe of the team of international divers who undertook mission impossible to successful rescue 12 schoolboy players, and their coach, from a flooded cave in Thailand.
And, as the rescue team, including Huddersfield diver Jason Mallinson, return to this country amid mounting calls for them to receive the George Cross and other prestigious honours, it is their self-effacing modesty which is truly humbling.
It was typified by the words of John Volanthen who, together with his colleague Rick Stanton, were the first divers to reach the stranded group in an underground network in Chiang Rai province. “We are not heroes. What we do is very calculating, very calm. It’s quite the opposite,” he said. Though many would disagree this, their actions and ingenuity have, nevertheless, redefined the meaning of heroism.