A reluctant teenage hero and a brave young mum are the pride of Burnley after they rescued two children and their grandmother from drowning when they were swept out to sea.
Ben Ashworth, who is 14 and 24-year-old Charlotte McIntyre, were nominated for a bravery award after a relative heard about the dramatic rescue when the modest duo plunged into the North Sea at Blackpool when they heard the grandmother calling for help.
Charlotte said: “It was a total shock when we heard about the award, neither of us expected this because we just did what anyone else would have done.
“I don’t think it really hit us what had happened until we got home and talked about the it the next day."
The drama unfolded when Ben and Charlotte went for a day out to the Blackpool Air Show in August with a group of friends and relatives including Charlotte’s partner and their three children, Amelia (six) four-year-old Sophia and Daniel who is three.
After the show Ben decided he wanted to go swimming in the sea to cool off as it was such a hot day.
A student at Padiham’s Shuttleworth College, Ben said: “I had taken my swimming shorts all ready and there were quite a few people messing about in the water and on the steps leading down to the sea.
“I could see the woman and the children in the water but they looked like they were playing at first, we didn’t realise they were in trouble and a man said to me can you help them?”
A keen and strong swimmer, Ben dived into the water and swam towards the woman who was floating on her back.
Ben, of Leyland Road, said: “I just had to concentrate on supporting her and pulling her towards the steps to get her out of the water.
“Once she was out of the water she told me she had a heart condition and that I was a Godsend.”
Alerted to the drama, Charlotte plunged in to rescue the children who were being dragged underwater and swept out to sea by the strong current.
Charlotte, who lives on the Barclay Hills estate in Burnley, said: “There was a boy and a girl aged about six or seven and they had been playing on the steps while their grandma watched them.
“But the waves were quite strong and they had been pulled into the water so the grandmother had jumped in to try and save them and all three of them got into difficulty.
“The children were coughing, choking and crying but I had to concentrate on getting them out of the water and onto the steps.”
Charlotte wrapped the shocked children in blankets and towels she had brought for the day trip while they waited for paramedics, who had been alerted by bystanders, to arrive.
She added: “The grandmother was so grateful to us, she just kept thanking us and saying we had saved their lives.
“We were just glad they were all okay.”
After the drama the modest duo returned to their proud family and friends for an afternoon of fun in the arcades at the resort.Charlotte said: “We had a cup of tea and then carried on enjoying ourselves.“It only really sank in the ne
Ben’s proud mum, Sarah Oxborough, who has three other sons, Jack (18), Teigan (nine) and eight-year-old Harvey, said: “I am proud of Ben anyway so when I found out what he had done it just made me prouder still.
“What Ben and Charlotte did was wonderful. They saved the lives of these three people.”
The star pair are among the nominees for the 2BR Local Heroes Award that will be announced this evening at a glittering VIP awards dinner at Burnley Mechanics Theatre.