‘Courageous, considerate and selfless’ – two March scouts commended after lifesaving rescue of a boy swept out to sea

PUBLISHED: 11:06 04 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:06 04 September 2015

March Scouts, Left: James Richardson, Phil Richardson and Aaron Spencer. Picture: Steve Williams.

March Scouts, Left: James Richardson, Phil Richardson and Aaron Spencer. Picture: Steve Williams.


“Just a quick paddle out and back again” resulted in a young boy’s life being saved after a heroic rescue by two March Scouts.

March Scouts, Left: James Richardson and Aaron Spencer. Picture: Steve Williams.March Scouts, Left: James Richardson and Aaron Spencer. Picture: Steve Williams.

Aaron Spencer, 13, and James Richardson, 17, who were on a summer activity trip to Pinewood Beach at Wells-next-the-Sea, spoke of their courage and bravery having saved a child aged between nine and 10 from drowning.

Aaron, a patrol leader, and James, a stone cross explorer scout, were in the water at the time and knew the tide was going out.

“We had been in the water for ages and it had just started to go a bit faster when I noticed there was a boy in an inflatable dinghy who could not get back to shore,” James said.

The boy, who was on an inflatable boat with paddles out of the water, was being carried out towards Holkham Bay because of the strong wind.

“His mother was shouting ‘stop messing about’ and kept urging him to get out of the water. We asked if she wanted any help and then decided to swim out.”

Swimming out to try and save the boy was “non-debatable”, James added selflessly.

“He could have gone all the way out and right to the sea. We just thought ‘we need to get him back’.”

Although lifeguards were present on the beach, the boy had drifted to the far left of the flags.

Aaron, who wasn’t worried about the potential risks, said of the incident: “I could hear the boy saying, ‘I can’t, I can’t’ and he was starting to cry.

“It was a little bit hard pulling him in because of the tides and currents so I called James to come and help because he’s older and stronger than me.”

After the rescue, Aaron and James just went back to their afternoon as if nothing had happened.

“I didn’t go up to anyone; I just kept my cool and got back into the water to play ‘it’ again,” Aaron said modestly.

“It was just an ordinary thing at the time”, James added humbly.

James’ father, Phil Richardson, who is a March Scout Troop leader and was on the trip, said he is extremely proud of both boys.

“Aaron and James’ quick identification of the situation and selfless regard to assisting another person may well have saved the life of the child.

“Their actions showed that they were, in this incident, courageous, considerate and selfless.”

He added: “They showed bravery and went over and above what I would expect from scouts.

“The humility they showed after the event was also a credit seeking no reward or recognition of the act; in fact most of the Scouts were unaware of the incident until the last night when it was mentioned at the closing camp fire.

Stephanie Spencer, Aaron’s mother, said she and the whole family are “immensely proud.

“I was overwhelmed with pride but there was also the realisation that they put themselves in considerable danger to save someone else’s life.”

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