Schoolboy saves gradndad’s life

editorial image

A pupil at an East Ren school saved his grandad’s life after he fell out while sailing

Andrew Paton, who is 13, was with granddad Sandy Malcolm in their speedboat on Loch Fyne when they were hit by a large wave.

Sandy, who is 82, fell overboard into the cold waters of the loch and drifted away.

Andrew, who attends Eastwood High School, then sprang into action, throwing Sandy a rope, hauling him to the side of the boat and tying him on to it, and stopping the boat’s engine.

He then dialled 999 to raise the alarm.

The Coastguard put out an emergency relay and other boats in the area made their way to Sandy and Andrew, where Sandy was helped back on board the boat by fellow sailors.

Tarbert Coastguard Rescue Team and an RAF rescue helicopter were dispatched to the scene and Sandy was airlifted to Lochgilphead Community Hospital where he was kept in overnight.

He is now recovering at home in Tighnabruaich. He suffered bad bruising, shock and swallowed some sea water.

Andrew said they had been visiting Tarbert and Portavadie and were heading for home when disaster struck.

“Granddad was sitting side on when he was hit by spray then a big wave. He fell out – it was a big shock.

“I reversed back, threw him a rope then tied him to the handle at the back of the boat. I hit the kill cord and got my phone to dial 999.”

Modest Andrew said he’d told ‘only one or two’ people about his heroics but thinks a lot more people in Tighnabruaich will have heard about it.

He sails regularly, visiting his grandparents every two weeks, where he has his own speedboat and dinghy.

“I’ve been in boats since I was two and did my first Royal Yachting Association training aged seven.”

Mum Christine, 51, said: “Andrew saved his granddad’s life.

“We are exceptionally proud of him – I can’t quite believe what he’s done and at the same time I can.

“He showed maturity and common sense and put everything he’s learned in his training, his experience and knowledge, into action.

“Andrew is very aware of safety at sea and the importance of things like wearing a life jacket and how to get help.

“Eastwood High has contributed immensely to his sense of knowing what’s right and the confidence of knowing what to do.

“My dad is so, so proud of him.”

Sandy said: “It was marvellous how he handled things. He was cool, calm and collected. The other boatmen who came to help were amazed at his performance and thought the world of him.

“I had been hit by a big wave and I went into the water, went right under. I was wearing a lifejacket of course and when I came up I was so glad to see Andrew was still on the boat. He put the rope under my arms and kept me up as high as he could until help arrived.

“I could hear him talking to the Coastguard and they said how impressed they were with the way he handled it.

“It was quite a dramatic scene but he just took over. He’s a fantastic boy and I think the world of him.”

Eastwood head teacher Stuart Maxwell said: “We’re immensely proud of Andrew.

“We are delighted things ended as positively as they did. Andrew acted sensibly and with maturity, and he should be very proud of himself.”

A statement issued by the Coastguard said: “We were struck by how brave and sensible this young boy behaved. He knew to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. He also managed to get a rope to his grandfather and keep him safe until help reached them. He deserves to be commended for his courage and quick thinking.”

The incident happened on 5 September.

Andrew lives with his mum, dad John and sister Rebecca, an S1 pupil at Eastwood.