Godmanchester couple thank strangers who saved their lives

At Godmanchester river are (l-r) Gary Warner, Anthony Davis, and boat Captain Tim Ballard, who saved

At Godmanchester river are (l-r) Gary Warner, Anthony Davis, and boat Captain Tim Ballard, who saved a ladies life, - Credit: Archant

“I wouldn’t have been here today if they hadn’t been there – they saved our lives.”

Those were the words of Anthony Davis who has thanked a ferry captain and kind-hearted stranger who helped save him and his partner from drowning.

Mr Davis and his partner Sally-Anne Swain had been out for a day with their friend Gary Warner, 54, at Brampton Mill before getting aboard The Great Ouse Ferry to travel to Godmanchester on Sunday (August 14).

The couple, of East Chadley Lane, Godmanchester, and Mr Warner had walked off the ferry and onto the footpath near the Chinese Bridge when Ms Swain slipped onto the bank and fell into the river.

“My friend tried to grab her and I tried to grab her but we couldn’t pull her out of the water,” said Mr Davis.

The pair both jumped into the water to try and get her out but Ms Swain had become stuck, tangled in the weeds from under the water.

“A stranger then came by and pulled my friend out while I tried to keep my partner’s head above the water.”

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The captain of the Great Ouse Ferry, Tim Ballard, saw the commotion and turned his boat around to try and help.

Mr Ballard, who has been captain of the ferry for more than three years, said: “I was worried about the propellor’s hitting Sally to start off with but I bought the boat up close to her.

“Anybody would have done it, she was very lucky that she had all of us there.”

Once he had arrived at the scene he grabbed onto Mr Davis to give up a chance to hoist himself slightly out of the water and onto the side of the boat while the stranger was holding onto Mr Davis’s friend as he was holding Ms Swain’s wrist.

Mr Davis, 53, said: “I then tried to then keep my partners head above the water as she was panicking by this time.”

Mr Ballard then jumped ashore so that he could tie up the boat and contacted the emergency services.

Cambridgeshire police and the fire and rescue service were called to help with the rescue of Ms Swain, 64, and Mr Davis at 8.24.

Once the trio were rescued from the river they were treated for hyperthermia and Ms Swain was taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital to kept under observation.

The 64-year-old was also given treatment for a bang to the head that occurred during the incident.

Mr Davis added: “I would like to find out who the stranger was that helped me and my partner as we are so grateful and would like to buy them a meal.

“Also if it wasn’t for Tim then Sally certainly wouldn’t be alive and I might not be either.”