A young boy was rescued from drowning on Richmond riverside this weekend, with pub staff hoping to track down the mystery hero.

Deputy manager at the White Cross pub Rob Smith witnessed the drama unfold and paid tribute to a man, who was drinking at the pub, who dived in to save the youngster.

Mr Smith, 35, from Richmond, described seeing the child, aged about 8, struggling in the high tide at 5.15pm on Saturday when a pub regular came to the rescue.

He said: “There were children playing unsupervised in front of the Slug and Lettuce and the tide was quite high at that time of day.

“The kids came to a huge drop down in the water, on the riverside, and one boy, who must have been about 8 or 9, got into trouble.”

Mr Smith said the man, who was with his wife, witnessed the danger and jumped into the River Thames to retrieve the boy.

He said: “If the bloke wasn’t there, no one would have seen it and we would have a death on our hands.

“He went in a saved the child from drowning – we don’t know him by name but he is a regular and we recognise him.”

The pub’s Twitter account, @WhiteCrossPub, has called for people to come forward and identify the hero, using the hashtag #whoishe.

Mr Smith said: “The boy’s father was in the Slug and when he came out, he just shouted at the kid for getting wet and didn’t even thank the man who rescued him.

“That was the talking point – people were shocked he didn’t even come over to say thank you.

“The man jumped in without taking his shoes off or anything – he didn’t even worry that he had his phone in his pocket and just dealt with that when he came out.”

It is not the first time tragedy has been averted on that stretch off the river, according to Mr Smith, who is a designated lifeguard for the pub and its part of the Thames.

He said he sees incidents “week in, week out” and is calling for parents to take more responsibility when they bring their children to riverside pubs.

He added: “Adults have a responsibility to look after their children and some, not all, but some just think it is OK for their children to run about and amuse themselves.”

  • Do you know the Richmond riverside hero? Have you seen or been involved in a dangerous situation in the high tides on the riverside? Let our news desk know at tom.ambrose@london.newsquest.co.uk or call 020 8722 6330.