AS families prepare for their summer holidays, the story of a quick-thinking girl who saved her brother from drowning shows the value of swimming lessons.
Maddie Sharp, who is seven and lives in Casterton Road, Stamford was on holiday in the south of France with her parents Lisa and Paul, sister Lindsay, 10, brother Ethan, six and grandmother Tanya Collingwood.
The children, who are pupils at Malcolm Sargent Primary School, were playing in a swimming pool while the adults relaxed by the side when Ethan fell into the water.
Mum Lisa said: “Ethan and Maddie were on lilos in the pool but had been told to stay in the shallow end.
“Ethan drifted to the deep end and must have lost his balance and fallen in. Maddie saw him go in and grabbed him as he went down.
“She had no armbands on and the water was about 7ft deep, and Ethan is quite a lot heavier than her.
“Maddie is a bit of a hero. I’m very proud of because a few more seconds and it could have been much worse.”
The incident happened so quickly that Lisa and Paul were only alerted to Ethan’s plight by older sister Lindsay’s shout as Maddie dived to the rescue.
All three children have taken swimming lessons at Stamford Leisure Pool since they were toddlers.
Lisa said she was determined to get them used to the water after she almost drowned as a child.
She added: “The swimming lessons have been invaluable.
“I had a similar experience to Ethan as a child and I always said that my kids would swim from an early age to take away the fear of water.
“What Maddie did shows she has no fear. She didn’t shout first, she just went over and helped Ethan.
“Maddie’s the quiet one, she will do something and tell you about it afterwards. She doesn’t panic.”
Proud grandmother Tanya said: “What Maddie did was unbelievable.
“After hearing Lindsay shout we turned and just saw Maddie pull Ethan up through the water to safety.
“Maddie has been swimming with the swim school since she was six months old; without her quick thinking and swimming skills there could have been a very different end to this story.”
Swimming teacher at Stamford Leisure Pool Kadee Wray added: “We were amazed when Maddie’s family told us what had happened.
“She is a confident swimmer, but still in the very early stages of the swim school programme.
“It just shows that swimming is an essential skill that is not only vital for yourself, but those around you too.”
Ethan was not injured in the incident, which happened last summer, and went on to enjoy the rest of the holiday.