Boy, 11, hailed 'hero' after jumping into sea to save toddler

21 August 2020, 17:17

The young toddler got into trouble at the harbour in Staithes, North Yorkshire
The young toddler got into trouble at the harbour in Staithes, North Yorkshire. Picture: Getty
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

An 11-year-old boy has been hailed a hero after jumping into the sea in North Yorkshire to save a toddler.

Schoolboy Eli Harrison "did what anyone else would have done" when he rushed to the rescue of the young child in the harbour of the idyllic North Yorkshire village Staithes.

Eli's mother, Kayleigh, said the youngster has not quite grasped the gravity of his actions after saving the little boy's life.

"He is a hero," Mrs Harrison said.

"But he still doesn't get what he's done."

His mother said she and her husband Ian, along with their three children - Eli, his elder brother Billy and younger sister Gypsie-Rose - went down to the beach on Friday 7 August to watch the tide coming in.

While down there, the family noticed a small child floating among the boats 33ft (10 metres) away.

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File photo of lobster traps along the harbour in Staithes
File photo of lobster traps along the harbour in Staithes. Picture: PA

Mrs Harrison said Eli did not think twice when diving off the pier and into the sea before anyone else thought to act.

"He just says: 'I did what anyone else would have done, Mum'," she added.

"He still thinks that going around saving people is quite normal."

Eli's mother said her son swam to the shore with the young boy who had stayed afloat by hanging on to a fishing net.

He had got into trouble after being out of sight of his parents for just a "split-second".

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The picturesque North Yorkshire town in October 2013
The picturesque North Yorkshire town in October 2013. Picture: PA

The young boy's grateful family gave Eli £10 and the toddler is understood to be fully recovered.

Eli's mother, a healthcare assistant, said her son had lived in Staithes all his life and has sea "in his blood" as his great-grandfather and grandfather were both local fishermen.

She added: "He just wants people to remember not to take their eyes off their bairns because it all happened so quickly."

Mrs Harrison said Eli is an "amazing swimmer" and would like to be a lifeboat volunteer when he is older.

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