An off-duty police officer has warned parents about the dangers of the river, after rescuing two children from drowning in the Thames.

Spencer Mayger was enjoying a kayaking trip with his son last Wednesday (August 5), when he was approached by a member of the public, asking him to save two children who had gone adrift in a blow-up dinghy.

The slip near Ham House is a popular spot for water activities in the summer, however, the currents and fast-moving boats can pose significant risks to inexperienced swimmers.

Luckily, Mr Mayger, who is a Special Constable for Tolworth and Chessington Police, was on hand to jump to the rescue.

“I saw a toy-boat with two kids in drifting down the Thames. They were about six and seven years old, with no life jackets on. They were screaming and hysterical and only one had arm bands on.

It took Mr Mayger about 7-8 minutes to grab his kayak and paddle against the tide. After tying their boat to his waist, he brought them safely back to shore.

However, the 49-year-old says he has “nightmares” thinking about how the situation might have turned out.

“The child without armbands looked like she was trying to get off the boat to swim to shore. If one had gone into the water, I would never have been able to make the judgement call on who to save.”

“The child in the water might have been hit by a pleasure boat and the other one lost to the tide.”

When Mr Mayger reunited the children with their parents, he was met by a crowd of people.

“Everyone was patting me on the back and congratulating me, but I’m a police officer, it’s what we do.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Spencer Mayger on duty as a volunteer police officer

“When I got the children back to their parents, they asked me to tell their kids off. However I feel it is the parents who should be educated in the dangers of the river.

They had gone back to the car to pick something up. It’s lovely to sit by the river in the summer, but you have to keep a constant eye on your children.”

The father-of-two, added:

“If I hadn’t have got to them I believe there would’ve been serious consequences. Children are so precious, why would you leave them on a river that deep? It borders on madness.

"I would never let my 14 year old son, who is well educated in the dangers of the river, go out alone.”

He urges parents to be more vigilant about the dangers of the water.

“At this time of year lots of people are buying cheap boats for their children but they don’t realise how fast the tide moves. It’s quicker in the middle and has rip currents.

“My friend works at the RNLI and has already had to pull out a lot of bodies in that stretch.

"Parents should go online – it’s only £15 for a basic life jacket.”