A seven-year-old girl has been dubbed a hero for saving her friend from drowning at Splashpoint Leisure Centre.
On Sunday, a visit to the Brighton Road swimming pool in Worthing could have ended in tragedy when Ruby Davis, eight, got into trouble after jumping off the highest diving board.
But thanks to the quick instincts of Anna Wallace-Bray, from Rectory Road, Sompting, a crisis was avoided. She said: “I didn’t want to lose my best friend because she is really nice.”
According to Ruby, who lives near Anna in Sompting, when she hit the water her goggles leaked, causing them to fog up. She said: “I couldn’t see anything; I couldn’t see the edge and I started panicking and shouting.
“I could feel myself sinking in the water; I felt like I was being dragged under.”
Anna, who has not had formal swimming lessons, jumped into the pool and wrapped her arm around Ruby, using her free arm to swim to the side of the pool where a lifeguard called Chris helped her to safety.
Watching it unfold was Anna’s mother Wendy, who took the girls swimming. She thanked Chris for helping them, and said it was a good example of why all children should learn to swim.
She said: “I am so incredibly proud of Anna that she showed such bravery. Some sort of natural instinct kicked in and she just knew what to do. She is my hero.”
Ruby, who goes to The Globe Primary School in Irene Avenue, Lancing, is now back to normal. She said: “I would like to say thank you for saving my life and risking yours to just help me.”
Her mother Julie Davis added: “Anna was so brave. If I was that age, I wouldn’t know what to do. I would have stayed on the side and watched, not jumped in.”
Wendy emailed The Vale School in Findon that Anna attends and her headteacher called her up in assembly to congratulate her.
Anna said: “I feel proud. It was fun and scary and awesome at the same time.”