Alexander Dunn, a four-year-old boy from Dewsbury has been awarded a national lifesaving award this month after he heroically saved his dad from drowning after he’d suffered a stroke while they were playing on the slides in a waterpark on holiday in Spain.
Awarded by STA, a national charity dedicated to the teaching of swimming and water safety, the Roll of Honour is the organisation’s highest accolade and recognises outstanding commitment towards safety and lifesaving.
It is only the twelfth time in 23 years that the Roll of Honour has been awarded by STA, the founding member of the IFSTA (International Federation of Swimming Teachers Associations). This demonstrates Alexander’s exceptional lifesaving achievements said Fiona Mellor, his STA swimming teacher who nominated him for the award and who poignantly presented him with his Roll of Honour at his final Swimbabes swimming lesson on Friday the 11th of August.
His mum Danielle has been taking Alexander to Swimbabes lessons since he was 5 weeks old and said that without these lessons it would have been a very different outcome on that day in the waterpark. Danielle recalls what happened here:
“Alexander was playing in the hotel’s waterpark with his dad Ben, and they went down the slides together and landed in the swimming pool which was around 5ft deep. Ben had a stroke as he went down the slide, and when he got to the bottom, he realised he couldn’t use his right arm and leg, and he was really dizzy – thankfully he managed to slowly get to the pool edge but it meant Alexander had to swim the whole length of the pool on his own to exit the pool.
He got out, but his dad couldn’t where he was, so he ran around the side of the pool and jumped back in. He kept by Ben saying ‘Daddy get out’. When he realised Ben wasn’t right, he got out again and ran to find me to tell me something was wrong!”
“If Alexander hadn’t learned how to swim, I could have lost them both that day. He was very brave and both Ben and I are extremely proud of him,” said Danielle.
Fiona Mellor, who taught Alexander to learn how to swim said:
“I am extremely proud of Alexander, he has always been very confident in the water, and to find out that he has used his swimming skills to help save his Dad’s life is incredible, and just shows the importance of learning to swim. He doesn’t understand the enormity of what he’s done at the moment because he’s still only 4, but one day he will and he can be so proud of himself.”
Dave Candler, STA and IFSTA CEO, said: “This is a really touching story. As a dad myself of two boys, I can picture the scene of them both having great fun in the water park while on holiday. The suddenness of the stroke, and being stuck in the pool must have been very scary for Ben, but thanks to the actions of his son, incredibly at just 4 years of age, he saved his dad’s life. Alexander is a very brave little boy.
“This real-life story also shows how important it is for children to learn how to swim and be water safe from a young age. We think of rivers and canals being dangerous, not swimming pools while we are enjoying a holiday; but just like in this family’s case events can turn on a sixpence and we might not all be lucky enough to have someone brave like Alexander around.
“Alexander is highly deserving of this nationally recognised award, and it’s a privilege and an honour to present him with our highest lifesaving award,” confirmed Dave.