River Kennet Rescue
It was a sunny Thursday afternoon and my mum, my sister and I were walking from the Duck’s Bridge (Kennet Bridge) on the Froxfield Road to the Mill Lane fords. When we arrived we walked around the river bank and threw pebbles into the river. (Due to the rain, the water level had risen several inches.) My sister spotted a step ladder right out in the middle of the fast-flowing water. Someone must have dumped it there not too long ago because no river plants or water weed were growing on it. All three of us stood there on the bridge wondering what to do. I was thinking one of us should go into the deep water and lift it out. We discussed it for a moment and soon the conclusion was me climbing into the river to fetch the ladder out.
I was willing to do it but not too keen to get wet, but I made myself take off my shoes and socks and go down to the far end of the bridge and climb into the river. The water felt freezing cold at first and my legs went numb. I wasn’t going to turn back now! I forced myself into the water and ignored my now soaked trousers. The water was above my knees and I wondered how deep the river would be where the ladder was. I waded through the water trying to avoid the sharp stones on the river bed. I kept close to the bridge where the river was slightly shallower, but the water got deeper. I was now halfway along the bridge (in the river) and I realised that I had to go out several yards from the bridge to reach the ladder. I edged away from the bridge and reached the ladder quickly. The water was now stomach height, so the ladder was quite deep under water. I reached down for it, soaking my sleeves in the process. The ladder was tangled in water weed so it was hard to lift up and while I was struggling with the current and the weight of the ladder and the weeds, I nearly fell over into the river. Being drenched with freezing cold water made me want to get out quick but it was hard work carrying the heavy step ladder. My shirt was now soaked and uncomfortable but I made it to the river bank. I pulled myself out and dragged the ladder up behind me. Luckily, there was a Humphrey’s stone mason van nearby and the nice man inside offered to take the broken ladder away to the dump. I rinsed my feet in the river and then went to a nearby bench to dry off in the sun.
By James (age 11)