Search is on for Hastings sea rescue hero

Hastings Fishermen's Beach
Hastings Fishermen's Beach

A grandfather has appealed for help to find a mystery lifesaver who pulled his grandson to safety after he got into difficulty in the sea.

Clive Gray, from Tonbridge, Kent, was enjoying a day trip to Hastings with his family when 11-year-old McKenzie decided to go for a swim in the sea.

But events took a turn and the youngster suddenly found himself in trouble.

Clive said: “He always goes in the water and he knows to stay in his depth.

“But he got out of his depth and he struggled and panicked.”

Luckily help came in the form of a passerby who didn’t think twice about jumping into the sea fully clothed.

The man dragged the spluttering youngster to safety before disappearing without leaving his name.

Clive said: “My daughter Rachel panicked and the gentleman on the beach saw what was going on, jumped into the sea, pulled him out and he was gone.”

McKenzie was not hurt, but he was left shaken by his ordeal.

Clive says his grandson loves the sea, but is now wary about going back into the water.

Clive said: “He’s always going in the sea.

“He loves it.

“Every time we visit Hastings the first thing he does is go in and he knows not to go in too deep.

“He was saying afterwards he did not want to go back in the water again.

“But I think he will see the sea next time and I’m sure he will be going back in the water.”

Clive added: “It’s a lesson for a youngster to learn, but the great thing is there was someone there who had the commonsense to deal with the situation.”

McKenzie was rescued some time between 3.30pm and 4pm on Sunday (August 2).

Now his family is appealing for the mystery lifesaver to come forward.

And granddad Clive is keen to express his gratitude in person.

He told the Observer: “If we can find out who he is, I can come down to Hastings, shake his hand and buy him a pint.

“Decent people need to be told thank you.”

Were you the mystery lifesaver? Email the Hastings Observer at and we will put you in touch with the family.

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