Youngster from Staithes, near Whitby, named as national awards finalist after life-saving rescue

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A Staithes schoolboy has been named as a finalist in the Amplifon Awards For Brave Britons 2021 after jumping into Staithes harbour to save a toddler from drowning.

Eli Harrison, 12, who was on a family day out when he spotted the small child splashing among the moored boats, has reached the final four of the Young Hero category in global-hearing specialist Amplifon’s search for the Best of British heroes.

He will now be invited to the virtual awards presentation on Tuesday, October 5.

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The event will be hosted by BBC1 TV Breakfast and Radio 5 Live presenter Rachel Burden and Falklands War hero Simon Weston will be guest of honour.

Eli Harrison of Staithes with his parents Ian and Kayleigh.Eli Harrison of Staithes with his parents Ian and Kayleigh.
Eli Harrison of Staithes with his parents Ian and Kayleigh.

The Gazette reported last summer how Eli was heading to the beach with his parents Kayleigh and Ian, brother Billy and sister Gypsie-Rose when the family saw the small boy in trouble in the water, around 30ft away from where they were standing on the pier.

Within a split second of his dad shouting ‘There’s a kid drowning!’ Eli, who wants to be a lifeboat volunteer when he is older, jumped into the sea before anyone else even had time to think about what to do to help.

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Eli, whose great grandad and grandad were local fisherman, managed to get hold of the little boy who had been clinging onto a fishing net after slipping out of sight of his parents.

He then swam him safely back to the shore.

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Eli’s mum Kayleigh said: “He’s an amazing swimmer, a complete natural and it took him just a day to learn to dive a few years back.”

Eli immediately played down his heroic actions.

Mum Kayleigh said: “Since the incident last summer, I have asked Eli a number of times why he jumped in without a second thought and he is still so modest, he just says ‘well, because I can swim and he couldn’t and mam, you would have done it too'.”