Heroic St Albans teen saves life of drowning toddler

PUBLISHED: 19:00 11 March 2011

Ashleigh Harvey

Ashleigh Harvey


THE SWIFT and selfless actions of a St Albans teenager saved the life of a drowning toddler who had fallen into an unattended swimming pool.

Ashleigh Harvey, 13, had been holidaying with her grandparents and extended family in Lanzarote last month when she saw that the young boy had fallen into the deep end of the swimming pool. Without hesitation, she dived in to the pool fully clothed and pulled him from the bottom.

Her grandparents praised Ashleigh’s bravery and called her their “little hero” but the humble Year 9 pupil from Francis Bacon School said she was just doing what everyone else would have done.

Her mum, Suzanne Harvey, said: “We’re so very proud of her because she reacted quickly and saved this boy but she’s a little embarrassed by all of the attention because she thinks that anyone else in her position would have done the same without hesitation. She can’t see what all the fuss is about.”

The family had been gathered around the busy pool area enjoying the hot weather when Ashleigh saw the toddler, who had wandered off from his family, fall into the deep end of the pool.

Within seconds, Ashleigh realised that the boy was in trouble and that nobody else had seen so she dived in after him. She said that when she reached him, he was lying on the bottom and she had been quite sure he was dead. She later told her family that despite fearing he was dead, she wanted to get him out of the water.

When Ashleigh surfaced with the young boy, people were quickly drawn by the commotion and the boy was checked over.

But since returning home Ashleigh, who lives on the New Greens estate, has been bemused by the attention she’s received from friends, family and team mates.

David Wray, a member of the management committee for St Albans City Youth football club where Ashleigh plays for the Girls Under 14 team, said he was pleased to hear of Ashleigh’s actions but given her conduct as a player and her commitment to the team, it was not out of character.

Mervyn Morgan, trustee of the club, said: “She’s been at the club since the Under 10s and has been a fabulous player both on and off the field. She comes from a family very active in local football with Sandridge FC.

“She turns up an hour early at training every week to help out the coaches with the younger teams.”

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