Yorkshire teenager who saved toddler from drowning in canal nominated for national bravery award

A teenager from Yorkshire who dived into a canal to save a toddler from drowning has been named as a finalist for a national bravery award.

Ryley Ferguson with 15-month-old Reggie Johnson

Ryley Ferguson, 15, dived into the Aire and Calder canal at Knottingley when he saw a small boy fall into the water.

He had been out walking his dogs, Scooby and Billy, when he saw the 15-month-old boy close to the water with his legs dangling in before falling in.

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Ryley quickly took off his coat and shoes and swam across to drag Reggie Johnson, who had slipped away from home without his parents knowing, to the canal bank where a passer-by helped to pull them out of the water.

Ryley Ferguson and his two dogs, Scooby and Billy

Ryley said: “He had his legs dangling in the water but then he started waving at us which scared me. We probably wouldn’t have seen him if he hadn’t waved.

“We started walking over and my friend shouted, ‘he’s fallen in, he’s fallen in!’ There was no splash or thrashing about but I could see him sinking. I didn’t have time to hesitate, I just took off my coat and shoes, dived in and swam across to get him.

“If we hadn’t been there, no one would have seen him - there was no one else around.”

After the word got around about Ryley’s heroic act, the district, Ryley was later praised for his bravery by the Mayor of Wakefield, Councillor Charles Keith.

Ryley said Reggie's parents were “over the moon and really proud” that he had been on hand to help.

The Amplifon Awards For Brave Britons are in their fifth year and celebrate remarkable people and pets.

Ryley has been invited to the virtual presentation on Tuesday, October 13 - where a Brave Britons award is up for grabs.

Radio 5 Live breakfast presenter Rachel Burden will host the event, and Falklands War hero, Simon Weston, will be guest of honour.

Ryley said: “I don’t think it was an amazing thing, I just did what anyone else would do in that situation. There was no other thing I could have done, If I didn’t swim across then he would have drowned.”


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Thank you

James Mitchinson