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Finlay Woods recalls almost drowning at Bognor Regis in 1967 Back

I am trying to trace the person who saved my life at Butlins in Bognor around 1967. At the time I would have been 5 years old.

I saw my older brother walking on the silver handrail of the swimming pool and followed him, as children will. I got near the end but lost my footing and slipped into the deep end of the main swimming pool.

I have absolutely crystal clear memories of being under the water and coughing on the inhaled water. I was without question drowning and lost consciousness. I did get to the very bottom.

Somebody jumped in and got me out. The next thing I knew I was on the side at the shallow end spluttering with a towel around my shoulders and being told I was ok. At least one of those people was the Butlins life guard.

I do not know if it was a life guard or a member of the public who got me out.

As you can imagine, this means an awful lot to me. I am now 47 and fully aware that the person who did this will be at least in their 60’s and anything up to 100 years of age.

Please cast your minds back. I was a small, skinny little boy with big ears. I would have been effectively dead when you pulled me out of the water. Whoever you are, I desperately need to shake your hand and say a huge thanks. You literally saved my life.

Regretably, in those days records were not kept as they would be now. I didn’t even attend hospital. I was just given a telling off by my Dad for being a plonker and carried on with my holiday – keeping away from the pool.

So, if you were on holiday in Bognor in 1967 or possibly this was 1968, or you were working at the swimming pool and you have any recollection of this, PLEASE contact me. It could be it was your mum or dad who may not be with us anymore, but perhaps they told you of this incident?

I was well known around Bognor camp at the time as I was always in the rowing boats making my hands red raw. I wore round NHS type specs at the time and usually broke the lens in my glasses within hours of arriving on holiday. I will try to get a picture of me at the time if it will help. I believe this was the year that my Brother won the ‘Skeelers’ competition (in line skates now).

My Father always spent his afternoons in the lounge under the pool. He usually wore a sea captains cap and he smoked a pipe. Both my parents are still alive and are both now 78. I genuinely hope this hero is too.

As I said at the start. This is 100% genuine. I really did almost die, but thanks to this hero I didn’t. They are a hero and should be known for it. I don’t care if they were a villain or went to jail, they saved my life. I really hope they are still alive and I will travel to anywhere to say thanks to them.

Thank you

Finlay Woods

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