A young Walworth woman who helped save a man who jumped into the Thames has been recognised for her bravery.
Ellie Rose, 18, helped save a man last month when she saw him jump from the Golden Jubilee footbridge near Embankment tube station in the early hours of the morning.
Kath Brace, community champion at Morrisons on the Walworth Road gave Ellie a bunch of flowers, a certificate, and JD Sports vouchers on Friday afternoon (October 1).
Kath said: “How she saved that young guy, I think she was quite brave. I don’t think she got enough attention and she wasn’t brought enough recognition for it.
In my job at Morrisons I can do things like that for the community. I thing she’s a great young girl, and it’s a good gesture on behalf of Morrisons to recognise what she did.”
It came after Ellie helped haul Nathan, the young man, out of the Thames in the early hours of Saturday, September 4.
Nathan had come to London from Manchester for the day and had left a nightclub in Soho to catch the coach home. As he was crossing the bridge, he said he was accosted by a large group of young men who demanded his money.
He said they threatened him with knives and he felt the only way to survive was to jump into the freezing water of the Thames.
From the bank, Ellie watched Nathan, a strong swimmer, make his way to a pontoon at Embankment Pier by the north bank of the Thames – but she could hear him struggling, she said.
She sprang into action, trying to call the police but she couldn’t get through immediately and her phone was nearly dead. She ran to a bar near Embankment tube station and told the security guards to call the police to tell officers there was someone in the water.
Ellie ran across the road and tried to make her way down to where Nathan was struggling in the water. She had to climb over two gates to make her way down the pontoon, closer to where Nathan was in the water, between a boat and the pier, clearly disoriented.
“I could hear the guy struggling,” she said. “I started shouting out that I was there. I could just see his head.”
Ellie told him to swim around to the side where she would pull him up. But the cold water had taken its toll and the effort was almost too much for Nathan – his head disappeared underwater for a few seconds, Ellie said.
Nathan eventually managed to make his way to a stepladder and stopped at the bottom.
“I told him ‘I need you to come up a bit and I’m going to pull you up’. I’m not a strong swimmer, so I really wasn’t trying to get in the water”.
But Nathan had so little strength left that he couldn’t feel his body and wasn’t able to lift himself up at all, she said. Ellie went down a couple of steps and helped Nathan pull himself to the top of the ladder.
“But then he just froze,” she said. “I said to him ‘come on’. Because he was getting robbed on the bridge, he thought I was with the people that robbed him. He said ‘if you don’t prove to me that you’re trying to help me I’m going to jump back in’. I showed him that I called 999 and tried to ring them again but as soon as I clicked on the call my phone died.
“I told him ‘at this stage, if you do jump in I’m going to have to jump in after you and I’m not a strong swimmer.’”
Ellie said she was crying at this point and trying to distract Nathan, who appears to have been in shock, from jumping back in.
“I was telling him the police are going to be here any minute. I was saying ’put your arm around me’ and I had my arm around his waist as well.
“When I pulled him up by the arm I could feel how cold he was. He started throwing up. His back was in so much pain from the impact of hitting the water.”
Police and ambulance crews arrived soon after and Nathan was treated at the scene and taken to hospital. Ellie stayed with him while he was being treated and the two have been in contact since.
Nathan thanked Ellie and called her his “angel for the night” in a post on social media, adding that she motivated him to stay strong and helped get him out.
Ellie was friends from school with Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, the young Bermondsey man who died in April after heroically diving into the Thames to rescue someone in the water.
She said that when Nathan went into the water “Jimi was kind of in my head. When I saw that and I thought of Jimi, I knew I had to try and do what I could.”
Ellie’s mother Donna told the News that she was very proud of what her daughter had done. Ellie’s aunt Wendy added that “it’s been quite emotional for us. We could have lost her. She should be recognised as a young hero.”
A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at 2:20am on 4 September to reports of an incident on Victoria Embankment.
“We sent an ambulance crew, an incident support officer and our hazardous area response teams.
“A man was treated at the scene and taken to hospital.”
A spokesperson for the Met Police said: “Police were called at 02:09hrs on Saturday, 4 September to Victoria Embankment, SW1 following reports of a man in the River Thames.
“Officers, including the Marine Policing Unit, and RNLI attended. The 29-year-old man was taken to hospital by the London Ambulance Service and later discharged.
“The victim told officers that he had been assaulted and robbed, before jumping into the river.
“Detectives from the Central West BCU are investigating. There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.
“Anyone with information is asked to call police via 101 quoting reference CAD 755/04Sep.”