MY HERO SON SAVED MY LIFE

Dad ‘ex­tremely proud’ of Joe’s award:

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Joel Leaver

ATEENAGER who saved his fa­ther’s life when their kayak cap­sized has re­ceived na­tional recog­ni­tion for his courage.

In Fe­bru­ary, 13-year-old Joe Row­lands was kayak­ing off the coast of An­gle­sey with his fa­ther Paul.

The pair were about a mile from shore when the kayak started to fill with wa­ter, soon cap­siz­ing.

Paul, who was 50 at the time, man­aged to get Joe to sit on top of the up­turned kayak.

With the kayak un­able to take the weight of them both, Paul, from Nantwich, then de­cided to kick his way to­wards Ynys Du­las - drag­ging the kayak with him.

Af­ter strug­gling in the wa­ter for half an hour, the Cheshire Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice sta­tion man­ager re­alised they’d hardly moved. He said: “It’s at this point that I re­alised our only chance of sur­vival was to leave the craft and swim to a rock that was ap­prox­i­mately half way be­tween us and the shore­line, which was some half a mile away.”

At that mo­ment, Paul was just think­ing about keep­ing his son safe, aware that they needed to act quickly and res­cue them­selves.

“Joe said he thought we were go­ing to die and his fi­nal wish was a kiss from me,” he said.

The pair kissed each other be­fore set­ting off swim­ming.

Hypothermia and ex­haustion soon got to Paul, who passed out sev­eral times.

His last mem­ory of the or­deal was think­ing that his teenage son was safely on a nearby rock.

As Paul drifted in and out of con­scious­ness, Joe jumped off the rock and back into the freez­ing wa­ter.

He man­aged to drag his dad to the rock, where he be­gan ch­est com­pres­sions fol­lowed by mouth-to­mouth re­sus­ci­ta­tion un­til Paul came around.

The teenager begged for his dad to stay awake, and to­gether they made their way from the rock to a re­mote is­land.

Here the pair found shel­ter in a dis­used open tower, pre­vi­ously built for ship­wrecked sailors, where the fa­ther and son hud­dled to­gether to keep warm.

Fi­nally, more than two hours later, they were res­cued by the RNLI.

Now Joe, who has since turned 14, has re­ceived the Teenager of Courage award as part of the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Bri­tain Awards.

Paul said of his son: “I know I can never re­ally re­pay him for sav­ing my life and I’m ex­tremely proud of him.”

The Awards, in part­ner­ship with TSB, take place at Lon­don’s Grosvenor House and are set to be broad­cast on ITV next Tues­day.

Brave teen Joe kept his dad Paul alive when their kayak cap­sized dur­ing a trip out

Joe Row­lands and his proud dad Paul, and be­low, af­ter sav­ing his life when their kayak cap­sized

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