Warning signs called for as club launches crowd-funding campaign for river rescuer's iPhone (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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Warning signs called for as club launches crowd-funding campaign for river rescuer's iPhone
A river rescue professional has called for warning signs to be displayed along Richmond riverside after a child almost drowned at the weekend.
The boy, believed to be aged between four and eight, is thought to have fallen in the river while playing unsupervised outside the Slug and Lettuce pub.
A mystery hero, who had been in the White Cross pub further along the Thames, jumped in to rescue the child, who was struggling in the high tide at 5.15pm on Saturday.
Andy Butterfield, helm at Teddington RNLI and member of Richmond River Safety Group, said he would support the introduction of signage along the busy stretch of the river.
He said: "If there is a voice from the community who feel warning people it is a tidal stretch of the river, I think that is something that should be considered.
"In my opinion there should be some signage referencing the fact that there are throw lines in the pubs.
"I will bring it up at the next safety forum - people have strong opinions and there are people who say it doesn't work."
Mr Butterfield also said there was an incident in Kingston when two drunk men jumped into the river but were saved by throw lines.
He added: "They said they would have drowned if the bouncers at the nightclub hadn't come out with throw lines."
Teddington RNLI is currently running its river safety campaign along its stretch of the Thames, giving training to business staff.
The unidentified man who saved the boy on Saturday has been lauded as an 'unsung hero' and the White Cross pub has launched a Twitter campaign to find him.
Rob Smith, deputy manager at the pub, said he sees similar incidents "week in, week out" and called for parents to take more responsibility when bringing children to riverside pubs.
He said: "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."
Steve Kemsley, from Richmond Bridge Boating Club, witnessed the drama and has started a crowd-funding page to help replace his water-damaged iPhone.
He said: "The guy deserves a medal, which sadly he is unlikely to get.
"Instead he gets to buy himself a new phone."
To donate to the cause, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/unsunghero.
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