‘I’m just so grateful for what the lifeguards did... they saved my life’

THANKS Jack Wheeler thanks his rescuer Luke Farrant.     Picture: Allan Hutchings (112219-153)
THANKS Jack Wheeler thanks his rescuer Luke Farrant. Picture: Allan Hutchings (112219-153)
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JACK Wheeler is grateful to be alive.

During one of his regular trips to Havant Leisure Centre’s swimming pool, the 85-year-old got into difficulty and passed out in the water.

But luckily for Jack, lifeguard Luke Farrant was on hand.

Seeing the pensioner in distress and sinking beneath the water, 19-year-old Luke immediately raised the alarm and dived into the pool.

As Jack passed in and out of consciousness, Luke swam him to the poolside where colleagues were ready to assist.

Staff at the leisure centre then quickly established Jack was diabetic and got him a sugary drink to help him come round, while an ambulance was called.

Today Jack, who is back to full health, wants to thank Luke and his fellow lifeguards for saving his life. ‘I don’t know what would have happened if Luke and the others hadn’t been there,’ said Jack of East Street, Havant. ‘They saved my life, that’s for sure.

‘One minute I was swimming along and then the next minute I just started sinking. I couldn’t do anything, I just kept going under.

‘Then Luke dived in and saved me. He lifted me up and swam me to the edge and then three other lifeguards helped me too.

‘They were all so good. I’m so grateful for what they did.’

Jack was taken by ambulance to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, where he had tests carried out.

He said: ‘The hospital staff were amazing too. They’re not sure what happened really, they just said it’s one of those things. It could have been something to do with my diabetes, but we just don’t know. It’s just a good job someone was there when it happened.’

Jack, who since his ordeal has returned to the pool, has thanked staff at the leisure centre in Civic Centre Road, and given a special thank you card to Luke.

Luke of Staunton Road, Havant, said: ‘I’m really glad Jack’s ok now.

‘At the time we didn’t know what was wrong. I just saw him swimming along and then I saw him go under. I just jumped straight in.

‘He was drifting in and out of consciousness and we found out he was diabetic because of a chain he had on round his neck.

‘Thankfully the ambulance came quickly and got him to hospital and he was ok.’

He added: ‘I’ve had to help out people in the pool before, normally kids. But you don’t always get a thank you. It’s really nice of Jack.’

Horizon Leisure Centre chief executive Howard Broad, who is in charge of both the Havant and Waterlooville leisure centres, has since praised his staff.

He said: ‘I am proud of the professional way the staff dealt with Mr Wheeler and for remaining calm throughout and obviously we are delighted with the successful outcome.’