14/06/2012 08:26 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Hero Luke, 12, Dives Into Swollen River To Rescue Six Year-Old Girl

Hero Luke Pace, 12, dives into swollen river to rescue six year-old girl Suranne Atkinson SWNS

A schoolboy risked his own life to jump into a fast-flowing river to rescue a six-year-old girl.

Hero Luke Pace, 12, was playing with friends in woods near his home in Little Billing, Northants, when he heard a splash.

He ran to the embankment then dived into the water to rescue neighbour Suranne Atkinson after she slipped and fell.

Luke said: "I was in the woods with my friends Morgan and Billy, and my brother Michael when we saw Suranne and her friend Mia.

"They were playing, running up and down near the edge.

"Suddenly we heard a big splash, and looked up to see Suranne in the water."

Luke saw the little girl's arms were flailing as she panicked, struggling to keep her head above the water.

Hero Luke, 12, dives into swollen river to rescue six year-old girl SWNS

"I didn't know if she could swim so I just jumped in and pulled her head above water," he said.

"I asked if she was OK, and got her to safety."

Suranne's mother, Lesley Howell, praised Luke,

"When I found out she was OK I just cuddled him and couldn't stop thanking him," she said.


Without Luke, my daughter would be dead.


"It's a real steep drop and there's no way she could have got out. He is our little hero."

And it seems she's not the only one who thinks so.

Luke said: "I didn't want the hassle but people at school have been calling me 'hero Pace' since it happened.

"I've just started a new school but everyone knows who I am already."

But modest Luke added that he was just following in the footsteps of his police mum Sallie Shortland, who has won two Assisant Chief Constable's Commendations.

He said: "I've seen my mum get these awards for helping people out and I just wanted to do the same."

Well done, Luke! We are full of admiration for your bravery.