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Blind man saves drowning child

Year 1858

Read by Paul Roe – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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On the 18th of April 1858, Mr. Thomas D. Lees (who lost his sight by an accident twelve years ago), was walking along the sands at St. Andrews, Fife, in company with two young companions, when they observed three children, one of whom, named Peter Bloomfield, aged six years, was wading into the sea in pursuit of his handkerchief, when being carried by the rapid current beyond his depth, he was in danger of being drowned — Mr. Lees’s companions being aware that, at the place where the child was, the bank shelved abruptly, the current running fast, and neither of them being swimmers, they could not. venture to save the drowning child — when Mr. Lees instantly stripped off his coat and rushed into the water, and, directed by the voices of his companions, strove, sightless as he was, to rescue the child. He succeeded in seizing its cap, which encouraged him, and induced him to continue his efforts. At last he got the child within his grasp, and was successful in carrying it to shore, to all appearance quite lifeless. In addition to the courage thus displayed, Mr. Lees also exhibited much sagacity and humanity, for, having folded his coat into a thick cushion, he laid the child upon it, and carefully tended it until assistance arrived.

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