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Hero teen dives into canal to save drowning toddler: 'We're really proud of him'

Ryley Ferguson was walking his dogs by the canal in his hometown when he spotted a drowning toddler. He's now been hailed as a guardian angel.

Hero teen dives into canal to save drowning toddler: 'We're really proud of him'
Image Source: Elizabeth McPhee / GoFundMe

When Ryley Ferguson was walking his dogs by the canal, he heard a toddler shouting. He looked over to find that a little boy was waving his hands frantically while playing on the grass right before he fell in the water. Instead of waiting for emergency officials to arrive, the 15-year-old decided to dive into the canal and rescue the boy. His fellow residents of Wakefield, a city in West Yorkshire, England, are incredibly proud of the young man and has even set up a fundraiser in order to reward Ryley with a cash prize, The Sun reports.



The incident took place last Sunday. The toddler, named Reggie, had been playing in his backyard when he managed to get through a makeshift gate and to the canal. At only 15 months old, this toddler was an adventurous one. Ryley was walking his dogs along the same Aire and Calder Navigation in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, when he was lucky to spot the little boy. "I could hear this little kid shouting and waving," the teen said in an interview with The Sun. "I realized how young he was and with him being on the other side I thought I need to go and get him or he’s going to go in. I could see him playing in the grass."



He was able to spring into action just in time. Ryley continued, "A few seconds later, he did and I saw his legs sinking, I threw my coat off and jumped in after him. When I got to him he was basically at the bottom of the canal. I was telling him ‘I have got you, you are going to be alright.'" The toddler's mother Becca could not have been more grateful for the 15-year-old's quick thinking. Taking to Facebook to post a photo of the teen holding her son, she wrote, "Our hero right there with my boy... This photo will be getting printed and put into a frame and put where Reggie can see it... So he knows who his guardian angel is... Reggie will always know who his hero is... And we will forever be in your debt."



While Reggie's mother is immensely thankful, Ryley's parents, Michael and Amy, said they were "super proud" of their brave son. "It’s all overwhelming, obviously we are really proud of him," his mother stated. "He was brilliant. He wasn’t strong enough to help the kid out of the canal, and he was holding him above water for some time so it’s lucky people came to help." Ryley's father added, "If he had been seconds later that kid would have drowned and no one would have known where he went. He must have had somebody watching over him." That somebody was his guardian angel, Ryley.



In appreciation of his courage, local counselor Tom Gordon got in touch with the mayor of the Wakefield Council in order to make sure that Ryley received recognition for "his brave and selfless actions." He affirmed, "Our town is extremely fortunate to have a lad like Ryley. He's a hero and he deserves to be recognized as such." Fellow resident Elizabeth McPhee started a GoFundMe fundraiser to raise money for a cash prize of £2,000 (that is almost $2,500). At present, she's over halfway to her goal. However, the teen has refused to use the cash prize. He plans to donate it to the National Health Services instead. Way to go, Ryley!



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