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Taking responsibility

Target Group

Key Stage 1


During a family holiday in Florida, Shanya Godin was playing in the hotel swimming-pool when a 5-year old boy started to drown in the deep-end. Shanya immediately went to help him. Her quick actions saved his life.

Shanya GodinShanya Godin, Hertfordshire

A family holiday in Florida could have ended in tragedy - but for the actions of 9-year old Shanya Godin.

She was playing in the hotel swimming-pool when her Mum, who was not in the water, saw that a little boy, called Antony, was in trouble in the deep end.

'Antony started going under the water,' recalls Di Godin, 'and was trying to push himself up to breathe. He was shouting and waving his arms around. He went under several times and the last time he did not clear his head out of the water.'

Because it was a hotel pool, there was no lifeguard on duty. So Mrs Godin called out to Shanya who quickly saw what was happening. She immediately swam over to Antony and lifted him up under his arms.

But by now 5-year old Antony, who could not swim, was starting to panic.

'He kicked a lot and splashed me,' remembers Shanya who had quite a job to hold on to him.

But she was determined to make sure he was safe and managed to swim with him first to the side of the pool and then down to the shallow end.

Shanya Godin with proud mum and dad'He was crying,' recalls Shanya, 'so I stayed with him and talked to him to calm him down.' Then his grandmother came to find him.

For her prompt and selfless actions in saving Antony's life, Shanya was presented with a Royal Humane Society Certificate of Commendation at her school in Hertfordshire.

Her head teacher said: 'Everybody is very proud of Shanya. The award demonstrates her kind and giving personality.'

Shanya's parents, Di and Paul Godin, were also very proud to see their daughter receive her award.

'It's good for her that her actions have been recognised,' said her Mum. 'It's also an inspiration for other children. They can see that everyday people can win awards - not just celebrities.'

Shanya thinks it's exciting, too, and has put her framed Royal Humane Society certificate on display in the living-room.

Class discussion:

  • What did Shanya do to save Antony's life?
  • Why was Antony in danger of drowning?
  • Why was it important that Shanya kept talking to him?
  • If you saw someone in in trouble in a public swimming-pool, what would you do?


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