Heroic waiter saves young girl from drowning in canal

A HERO who saved a child’s life after she fell into the Kennet and Avon Canal said he had no hesitation about jumping in to rescue her.

Harry Gavroche Jones was working at the Lock Inn in Bradford on Avon, helping customers find seats on the bustling bank holiday Monday, when he heard two panicked young boys saying their sister had fallen in the canal.

The 21-year-old dropped his pile of menus and ran to the water’s edge, next to the barge which the pub uses as additional seating, and saw the girl, who appeared to be about six, struggling to keep her head above water.

“As soon as I got to the canal I could see the terror in her face – I’ll never forget it,” said Mr Gavroche Jones, who also works as a chef at the pub. I knew she was in danger so getting her to safety was my priority. I didn’t even think, I just jumped straight in without hesitation. It was deeper than I thought, my feet just about touched the bottom, and very cold. I grabbed her and held her up above the water so she could breathe, and handed her up the bank to her parents, who didn’t know she had fallen in at first.”

The former Bath College pupil, of Ashton Road, Trowbridge, was himself pulled to safety by Lock Inn landlord Dick Barrow.

The incident happened at about 2.30pm, and although the father of the traumatised girl waited outside the pub to thank Harry after he had dried off, the family then rushed off to get their daughter home as it was raining heavily.

After his dad brought him a spare set of clothes the hero got back to work, finishing his shift at 9.30pm.

He added:

“I felt like a king when I got back to work. After my workmates started to hear what had happened they were really nice and said I’d been really brave. Dick made sure all the customers I served knew about what I’d done too, so they were also chipping in with nice comments. But all that mattered to me was the girl’s safety and I’m so pleased I managed to get her out of the canal. I’m sure it’s what everyone else would have done in the same situation.”

Now he wants to get in touch with the family to reassure himself the little girl is okay.

Landlord Mr Barrow said:

“I didn’t see the whole thing, I got outside just after Harry had jumped in and then I managed to pull him to safety. I’m so proud of the fact he jumped in without hesitation, not everyone would have done that.”

Mr Barrow, who is well known in the town for his sense of humour, joked:

“However, I’ll have to dock him half an hour of his wages for his unscheduled break from work.”

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