A 15-year-old boy has been hailed as a “guardian angel” after jumping into a canal to save a toddler from drowning.
Ryley Ferguson was walking his two dogs in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, on 3 May when he spotted little Reggie falling into the water while out on his own.
The teenager immediately threw off his shoes and coat and dived in to save the 15-month-old who was sinking to the bottom of the canal.
Ryley said he didn’t hesitate because he knew Reggie’s life was on the line.
Ryley, from Knottingley, said: “It all happened in a split second and suddenly I was at the bottom of the canal and managed to grab him.
“I was pretty calm I think but I was flustered as the water was so cold and my heart was racing.”
He added: “If I wasn’t there, if I walked by just 30 seconds later, he could have died. I had to save him.”
Ryley struggled to get out of the canal as he was holding the toddler, but after he shouted for help two men pulled them out of the water.
Once they got out, Reggie began to cry but Ryley said he calmed down after he reassured him, saying, “don’t worry, I got you”.
Reggie’s mum Rebecca Hampton, 33, has called Ryley their “guardian angel” after she was reunited with her son moments after he was saved.
She thought Reggie was in the house while she was working in the garden, but the adventurous boy had wandered into the canal, which runs behind their home.
The single mum-of-two says their families now share a “bond for life” and that Reggie will grow up knowing what Ryley did.
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Hampton, from Knottingley, said: “I keep saying Ryley is our guardian angel, he saved my boy and saved my life.
“Reggie will grow up knowing who Ryley is and what he’s done. He’s our superhero.”
She added: “I can’t tell you the relief I felt when I saw my beautiful boy.
“I can’t thank Ryley enough, I gave him a card with some money but no money in the world will ever cover what he’s done for me.”
Ryley’s mum Amy, 38, said she’s proud of her son and she couldn’t imagine what would have happened had he not been there.
His dad Michael, 38, also said he was proud of his brave son.
A neighbour has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Ryley but the teenager has refused to take any money and asked people to donate it to the NHS instead.
Rebecca has launched a campaign for Ryley to be given a Pride of Britain award for saving her son.