Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Story of a Hero

I opened a book given to me by my grandmother; a piece of paper fell out, a newspaper clipping. I picked it up, the ink smelled quite strong, like a mixture of Plasticine and vinegar. I flattened it out onto the table and began to read. The title intrigued me ‘Youth club teenager in holiday drama’. The following article has been copied directly from the newspaper, I’m not sure which, nor am I sure of the date it was printed or the name of the person who wrote it.

A LYMM teenager’s Belgian holiday turned into a dramatic fight for his life in an Ostend intensive care unit last week. Nineteen-years-old Craig Horan of 10, Whitesands Road, was said to be on the verge of death after a swimming incident. It ended with him being recovered unconscious from the English Channel, after (section missing) coastline. Craig, an instrument apprentice at Shell Carrington, was on a week-long trip run by Lymm Youth Club – where he is a part time worker and has been a member for about five years.

Craig plunged into the freezing waters to save his friend, who had slipped from treacherous seaweed-coated rocks, but he himself encountered difficulties. “I tried to get out, but the rocks were terribly slippery, and the current was so fast I was swept away. I was in the water for about twenty minutes,” said Craig at his home this week. The friend, who does not wish to be named, eventually managed to scramble out of the water, and enlist the aid of two passers-by, who secured a lifebelt to Craig and dragged him out of the sea.

Craig was suffering from acute hypothermia and internal bleeding. He had also swallowed a huge amount of salt water. He was whisked to hospital and immediately attached to a drip-feed while nurses fought to save him. “I really thought that first night was the end,” said Craig. “I did make a rapid recovery, and am feeling much better now.” Youth Club leader Mr Peter Rowe told the Guardian: “We all felt very sick about it, and were very subdued for a long time. But considering what Craig went through, he made a remarkable recovery.”

The substance that turns paper yellow is called Lignin. This happens when paper is exposed to air and sunlight. I have decided to share with you a small piece of my family history, written about a man, a man I’m very proud of, my father. I consider myself to be an amateur genealogist. I like researching the previous residents of old houses; finding and talking to the current owners about the history of their home and the homes of their neighbours can be quite rewarding, emotionally. I also enjoy discovering deceased celebrities on census records and passenger lists, people like Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Beatrix Potter, Charlie Chaplin and Florence Nightingale. Despite the many exciting things I find, nothing compares to the feeling I got when I read this story for the first time.