Bluebell Heroine Rescues Boy from Canal at Old Denaby by His Hair

May 1959

South Yorkshire Times, May 23, 1959

Bluebell Heroine

Rescues Boy from Canal at Old Denaby by His Hair

A 13-years-old Mexborough schoolgirl, returning from Old Denaby, where she had been picking bluebells in the woods, saved the life of a nine-years-old boy when he fell into the canal near a swing-bridge at Ferry Boat Lane, Mexborough, last night.

When Margaret Kitchen, a pupil at Adwick Road School, saw the boy. John Buczek, of Maple Road, Mexborough, floundering in the water, she dashed to the edge of the bank.

John, who had been fishing in a nearby pond with his brother, Robert (7), had been in the water for quite a time.                Reaching out as far as she possibly could, Margaret managed to drag him back to safety by the hair.

Change of Clothes

Auburn-haired Margaret, younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Kitchen, of 140, Hirst Gate, Mexborough, took John to her home, where her parents bathed him and gave him a change of clothes.

The two little boys were then taken to their home in Maple Road by Margaret’s father’s car, none the worse for their ordeal.

Mrs. Margaret Ruczek (37) described Margaret as a “little heroine” to a “South Yorkshire Times” reporter last night. “If it had not been for Margaret my boy would have undoubtedly lost his life . “We shall never be able to repay her. I dread to think of what would have happened if it had not been for her prompt action

“John told me that he and his brother were watching a girl pour a jar of tadpoles, for which they had been fishing, into the canal. He does not know how he got into the canal.

“He thinks that he must have missed his footing. He told me that he thought he was going to drown. Robert said that he shouted, ‘My brother is drowning,’ but he didn’t know what to do. Then Margaret rushed up and grabbed John by the hair.

I should like to thank Margaret publicly for her action. It was lucky for my husband and me that she decided to go picking bluebells that day.”

Hectic Hour

Both John and Robert, who are pupils of Mexborough Schofield Street Junior Boys’ School, are keenly interested in nature. The often visit the home of Mr Buczek’s sister at Keadby, where they keep their own fishing rods.

When the two boys arrived home after their hectic hour of adventure, their father, an ex-Polish refugee, was getting ready to to the G.E.C., Swinton, where he employed as a fitter.

Margaret, a keen swimming enthusiast, proved to be a rather reluctant heroine and Mrs. Buczek had great difficulty in persuading her to reveal her name.