Feb 1 2013 By Jackie Grant
A pensioner was pulled to safety by a local hero after plunging into the freezing River Annan.
Traumatised Jim Brown was out with his walking club when the ground beneath him gave way and he dropped six feet into the water below.
The 72-year-old this week praised a mystery hero for helping to save his life.
He said: “I simply want to say a massive thank you to this young man.
“I was in such shock that I forgot to ask his name before he disappeared. He helped to save my life.”
Mr Brown, a member of Duncanrig Rambling Club in East Kilbride, was in the area for a walk from Hoddom to Annan.
Near the end, he slipped on the riverside path and plunged headfirst into the water near the bridge at Annan.
“The weather was dry and mild but the path was very muddy and we were trying to take care,” he said.
“But I took a step and the ground fell away from me.
“When I landed in the water my head went under. When I resurfaced, I got on my back and started kicking like crazy.
“I was out in the middle of the river and I could hear other walkers screaming.
“I’m not a swimmer and I felt very scared, but I told myself not to panic because I was the only person who could help me.
“Thoughts of my wife and daughter were going through my head.”
After being in the water for around 10 minutes, Mr Brown finally managed to make it to the side of the river near the walkway underneath the bridge.
He spotted a young man on the other side of the water who watched the incident happen.
Jim said: “He ran like Usain Bolt across the bridge and came down to the walkway and helped to drag me out of the water.
“Club members dried me off and gave me dry clothes. I was wearing women’s clothes and only had my own underpants on.
“The young man then took me to his van and drove me to where our minibus was parked. I was so traumatised that I forgot to ask his name and he just left.
“He must have known what he was doing because when he arrived at the scene, he took charge straight away and couldn’t do enough for me.”
After returning home, an emotional Mr Brown was checked over by a doctor and given the all-clear, but the events of the day, on December 16, have been playing on his mind since.
“I feel very, very lucky. It felt like I was in the water for an eternity but I found the strength from somewhere to make it to the side of the river.
“Friends my age have told me if it had been them, they’d probably have drowned.
“I’ve been the butt of a few jokes recently and whenever I’m out with the club, some of the members tell me to make sure I’ve got a rubber ring with me.
“A few years ago we were walking in a field of sheep and my glasses blew off my face and I couldn’t find them. We joke that if anybody sees a sheep in that field wearing glasses, they’re Jim Brown’s.
“So if anybody sees a salmon in the River Annan wearing glasses, remember they’re Jim Brown’s as well.”
Are you the mystery man who helped to save Jim’s life, or do you know who he is? If so, contact the Standard on 01387 240331