Life-saving Scout duo to receive top bravery award for Norfolk beach rescue

PUBLISHED: 10:10 30 September 2016 | UPDATED: 10:10 30 September 2016

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

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

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Two heroic teenagers from March who ignored warnings to stay in shallow water during a seaside camp in order to save a 10-year-old boy from being swept out to sea are to receive national life-saving awards.

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.

James Richardson, 18, and 14-year-old Aaron Spencer will be awarded Royal Humane Society Testimonials on parchment for their bravery after saving the life of the boy at Pinewood beach at Wells-next-the-sea on August 19 last year.

The life-saving duo were paddling in the sea when they spotted the boy on an inflatable dinghy who was having difficulty getting back to shore.

The boy began drifting out towards Holkham Bay but was saved after Aaron showed tremendous courage to swim over 100 metres to the boy, before towing him back to shore via the inflatable’s tether line. James then helped Aaron pull him to safety.

“He could have gone all the way out to the sea,” said James, who has since left Fenland to go to university.

“We just thought ‘we need to get him back.’ His mother was shouting ‘stop messing about!’ and we asked her if she wanted any help and then decided to swim out.”

Aaron, who defied a strong current to rescue the boy, said: “It was a little bit hard pulling him because of the tides and currents so I called James to come and help because he’s older and stronger than me.”

The youngsters will receive their awards at a ceremony on November 17 after being nominated by Scout leader and James’ father, Phil Richardson.

“I’m very proud,” Phil said. “James is following in his father’s footsteps – I received the same award for attempting to save someone’s life after a road traffic collision a few years ago.

“From much experience of the coast, I am well aware of the dangers of inflatables being blown out to sea and subsequent rescues at sea.

“Arron 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.

“They showed bravery and went over and above that which I would expect from Scouts.”

The Royal Humane Society was founded in 1774, and honours bravery in the saving of human life. Since it was set up, it has considered over 86,000 cases and given out over 200,000 awards.

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