A MYSTERY man has been praised for saving a young child who fell into the water at Poole Quay during the town’s Harry Paye Day celebrations.

According to reports the quick-thinking individual, who witnesses said identified himself afterwards as a former Royal Engineer soldier, threw off his fleece top and dived into the water after the three-and-a-half year old plummeted in.

After successfully recovering the youngster, nearby stallholders wrapped the lad in towels before the event’s medical officer treated him to ensure he wasn’t hypothermic. The child was later taken to Poole Hospital where medics gave him the all clear.

The youngster’s mum had been walking with the him close to the quayside edge on Saturday when the drama unfolded.

Pirates of Poole secretary Xena Dion, and former Borough of Poole Mayor, told the Daily Echo: “If you’ve ever watched a toddler fall into a swimming pool, they literally sink like a stone because they haven’t got the skills to swim.

“So if you don’t act quickly, it can be quite dire.

“We’d love to get hold of this person to say thank you, and buy him a rum.

“This chap that jumped in, according to people who spoke with him afterwards, was a Royal Marines diving instructor, which was very helpful.”

If anyone knows the person who saved the child, contact the Echo, as event organisers would like to thank him in person. Thousands of people packed the quayside for Saturday’s Harry Paye Day. Xena said: “I was running a stall so I didn’t get much detail of the incident

“Apparently there was this woman walking really close to the edge with her toddler, and he fell in.

“We’ve been left with this fleece top which the man took off before jumping in and rescuing the toddler. It was quite a spectacular thing to do.”

The incident took place early afternoon close to the Sea Music statue.

“We wanted to put out a call for anyone who saw what happened or knows the man who carried out the rescue so he can come forward. It was really cold water and you don’t know how deep it is.”

  •  If you are the rescuer or know who he is, contact the Daily Echo on 01202 411294 or email bournemouthecho.co.uk

The Pirates of Poole charity organises the event, which benefits local charities and good causes.

Saturday’s celebration marked the 600th anniversary of Harry Paye’s death.

Harry, whose home was in Poole, was a privateer or pirate in the late 1300s and early 1400s.

He fought for king and country, causing havoc to French Dutch and Spanish ships, commandeering many of them.