Feb 6 2013 By Jackie Grant
Gary Little is the local hero who helped to pull a pensioner to safety after he plunged 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 praised a mystery hero for helping to save his life and wanted to say a “massive thank you” to the man who came to his aid.
And Gary from Annan was surprised to see Jim’s face on the front of the Standard on Friday.
His colleague at APD in Newbie contacted the paper to say the whole workforce are proud of Gary’s actions.
Jane Stewart said: “Gary told us what had happened on that day and when we read the Standard on Friday, we knew it was him this man was looking for.
“He deserves some recognition for helping Mr Brown out the water. It doesn’t surprise any of us as this is typical of Gary. He’s such a nice guy and would help anybody if he could.”
Modest Mr Little, 47, said he had a bit of a laugh that Mr Brown had described him as a “young man” who ran like Usain Bolt to help him.
He said: “I’m not a young guy and I’d say I jogged over to the river bank rather than ran like Usain Bolt.”
Mr Brown of East Kilbride was in the area with his walking club when he slipped on the riverside path and plunged headfirst into the water near the bridge at Annan on December 16.
The terrified pensioner was in the water for around 10 minutes before finally managing to make it to the side of the river near the walkway underneath the bridge.
He spotted a man on the other side of the water who watched the incident happen, run to the bank and help drag him out the water.
He then took Mr Brown in his van to where his minibus was parked but Jim was so shocked he forgot to ask his name.
Electrical project engineer Mr Little said: “I was out walking my dog and had stopped to talk to my friend when I noticed the old boy stumble and fall and slip down the bank.
“He started to float away and all the walkers were shouting for help. It was his backpack that saved him or he’d have been away.
“I ran round and I thought more of the walkers were going to end up falling in the water because they were trying to help him. It was a calamity. I had to try and get him out before the rest of them went in.
“He got to the side but his leg was trapped between rocks so I grabbed him and reassured him that I wouldn’t let him go back in.
“I untangled his leg and lifted him out of the water and the others put dry clothes on him.
“I ran up to my house to get my van and took him to the minibus but he was in a state of shock by that time and quite emotional.
“That was my good deed for the year. I couldn’t just stand back and watch somebody in trouble.”
Mr Brown said: “I managed to speak with Gary last night and thank him for helping me.
“I’ll get him a large whisky the next time I’m in the Annan area.”