Northern Ireland news

Co Armagh boy (7) plucked from river after kayak got into difficulties gives back to those who helped him

Sean Sterritt was kayaking with his father on the Cusher River in Tandragee

THE mother of a seven-year-old Co Armagh boy plucked from a river after his kayak got into difficulties has spoken about his "grit and determination" to give back to those who helped him.

Sean Sterritt was kayaking with his father on the Cusher River in Tandragee in February when they were thrown into the freezing cold water.

His father was washed ashore and despite frantic efforts he was unable to reach his son who was stuck in the water against a wall at the opposite bank.

Sean was pulled to safety by Mike and Zachery Greer from Tandragee, who were alerted to the young boy's ordeal.

But due to the severity of the incident, the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS), flown by Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, were tasked to the scene along with a number of emergency first response teams.

The young boy recovered well after his frightening ordeal, but wanted to do something positive that would potentially help another person who might need the air ambulance in future.

Sean's mother Elaine said her son "wanted to do something that would give back" for the help he received.

"Air Ambulance NI is a wonderful service that we cannot take for granted," she said.

"The service has been tasked to our council area 70 times in 2020 and it can only help people with donations to support its sustainability.

"We are so thankful that Sean wanted to do something and that's him, he has so much grit and determination and we are so proud of him."

Just two months after Sean's ordeal in the water, both he and his father took on the mighty challenge of summitting Northern Ireland's highest peak, Slieve Donard to raise funds for the life-saving service.

Sean initially set himself the goal of raising £250 but was overwhelmed when his final total came in at £1,070.

"Sean is so grateful to every single person who donated to his JustGiving page and helped him smash his target," said Ms Sterritt.

"If the money pays half the fuel or pays towards saving somebody else's life, it will have been worth it.

"Every step Sean took on that mountain really was to help ensure someone else got pre-hospital critical care if they needed it - every penny donated will help that cause."

She added: "We are just so delighted that something that could have turned out to be a devastating situation has had such a positive outcome and we are extremely proud of our young boy who is a big air ambulance fan".

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