An heroic security guard saved the lives of two young boys who were just minutes away from drowning off the coast of Blackpool.
Oliver Moorhouse, 27, was working on Central Pier on July 13 when he was alerted to the sound of nine-year-old Isaac Kitson and his friend screaming for help.
The boys had got into trouble in the water and were clinging desperately to the pier while being battered by strong waves.
He said: “I ran outside and looked over the pier and there were two boys clinging onto the side. The way the water was coming in, it looked like they didn’t have long left before it swept them out.
“I ran all the way down the pier and onto the beach, and I said to myself even if I wasn’t coming out, I was still going in.
“There was only one thought in my mind, just to get in there as fast as I could.”
He has now been hailed a “hero” by the mum of one of the boys, while Sgt Matt Walters, who watched the horrifying incident unfold from the CCTV control room, praised his “bravery” in saving the pair from almost certain death.
Oliver, of Onslow Road, Layton, said he managed to drag one of the youngsters back to shore but as he returned to the water to help the other, the boy was swept under the waves.
He added: “I managed to grab his foot and push him up.
“Someone had thrown a life ring in, so I got over to the life ring. We were pushing against the tide. I said to the young lad ‘you’ll have to kick as hard as you can’.
“It’s probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. At one point I thought ‘I’m a goner’. I was out of breath and couldn’t even hold my head up. Something in me said don’t give up. There’s two lads there that are counting on me.
“I swallowed quite a lot of water. When I got to the shore I just collapsed.”
An ambulance was called and Isaac and his friend were taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where they were treated for cuts and bruises. Oliver was checked by paramedics at the scene for head injuries, as he had been swept against the pier, but was able to return to work.
A few days later, Isaac was reunited with his hero in a special assembly with the RNLI at Westminster Primary School.
Isaac’s mum Clair, 45, of Charles Street, said: “Oliver heard the screams of the children and he didn’t hesitate. He went straight in after them without a thought for himself.
“We arranged to meet at the school so we could thank him. It was so emotional, I wouldn’t let him go. I just hugged him and said ‘thank you for saving my son’s life’.
“Not all superheroes come in suits like Spiderman. Oliver is a real life hero.
“The headmaster knew what had happened to Isaac and I addressed the dangers of the water. There wasn’t a dry eye in the school.
“If he was there two minutes later there would have been two fatalities.
“We’re so grateful to him. I want the whole of Blackpool to know what a hero he is.”
On the day of the rescue, Isaac and his friend had gone out on their bikes and promised to return that afternoon. A few hours later, Clair received a chilling phone call to tell her what had happened.
Clair said: “There are no words to describe it. Isaac is lucky to be alive.”
Oliver, a stepdad of one, said: “ I couldn’t bear the thought that if my little lad went in nobody would do anything.
“It was a frightening experience and you wish it never happened. But every time I wake up now I think of those boys waking up with theirwhole lives ahead of them.
“The water doesn’t wait around. It will take your life away in a heartbeat. It’s not to be messed with.”