Holiday hero Jim leaps into pool to save drowning boy

Jim and Sheila Matthews
Jim and Sheila Matthews

GLADSTONE Street resident Jim Matthews has returned from holiday in Egypt with his arm in a sling after saving a young boy from drowning.

The former fireman and window cleaner has been describing the moment he found himself in the thick of a dramatic poolside rescue at his hotel in Sharm-el-Sheikh – and how a twist of fate placed him in the right place at the right time.

In the middle of Jim and wife Sheila’s holiday at the Hotel Sonesta Club – the same day as Selkirk Common-Riding – Jim found himself plucking a seven-year-old Russian boy from the bottom of the pool.

Explaining how events unfolded, he told the Hawick News: “In the mornings we usually got up just after 8am and had a cup of tea on the balcony, before going for breakfast. But that morning we were up an hour earlier and decided to go straight for breakfast, so we were out by the pool much earlier too.”

With the pool a large kidney-shape and the Matthews sitting at the bottom end, Jim says he watched a young boy run up and jump into the middle of a deeper area – and get into difficulties. He went on: “I watched him come up, then go back under about three times and he was struggling, and the last time he didn’t come up. I just jumped up and dived in, glasses and all. I think being in the fire brigade for 30 years, natural instinct kicked in.”

Jim says he brought the boy to the surface, and flung him out of the water - although this was when he pulled tendons in an already problematic shoulder.

He went on: “The young lad coughed up a lot of water but his eyes were open, then he passed out for just a few seconds.”

At this point Jim says the young boy’s mum had appeared from another area of the pool, concerned that her son had gone missing, before the Hawick man did his best to explain to the Russian woman what had just happened .

Wife Sheila commented: “Jim was like a bat out of hell just jumping up and diving in”.

Although Jim was congratulated by fellow holidaymakers, he admits that a couple of hours later he began to suffer after-effects.

He said: “I got a bit shaky as it had been a shock to the system and I walk with a stick usually, and my shoulder started to get really sore.

“I was also thinking about what could have happened if I hadn’t been there.”

He added: “I just keep thinking that for some reason I got up early that day and was able to save the boy.”