WHEN Eastbourne Swimming Club member Emily Stephens started survival classes at the club, she never dreamed she would have to use her newly-acquired skills to save her little brother’s life.
But that’s just what happened when disaster struck as the Stephens family were out for a stroll by the River Cuckmere earlier this month and Emily’s six-year-old brother Will fell in and disappeared under the water.
Quick-thinking Emily, 13, a pupil at Cavendish School, immediately performed a straddle entry into the river and lifted Will’s head above the water until her dad Liam arrived moments later to pull him to safety.
Emily’s mum Kate said the family were walking back along the Cuckmere when the drama unfolded.
“Will just seemed to slip in and it all happened so quickly,” said Kate.
“Emily went in fully clothed, complete with her wellies, and didn’t even stop to think about it.
“ My husband Liam ran straight away and was right behind her.”
Kate said Motcombe School pupil Will’s memories of the event were that he had gone right under and couldn’t see in the muddy water.
As for mum and dad Kate and Liam, they are very proud of Emily for her quick thinking and bravery.
Kate said, “We are so very proud of her. It could have been much worse.
“I am so pleased all three of our children have swimming lessons and I can’t stress enough how important it is for children to learn to swim.”
In recognition of her courage Emily was recently presented with a Certificate of Achievement by Eastbourne Swimming Club president Ray Blount.
Emily’s survival class teachers at Eastbourne Swimming Club, Mick Garner and Hazel Wright said they were delighted that the training she had received helped save a life.
Picture: Emily receives a certificate of achievement from Ray Blount. Front is her brother Will who she saved after he slipped into the River Cuckmere.