It felt amazing to save someone’s life!

These are the humble words of a real life super hero who only last week helped to save a man from drowning in the River Tyne.

Last Thursday, Venue Manager Amber Hutton, aged 24, of Heaton in Newcastle came to the aid of a young reveller who had managed to fall in to the river close to where she works at The Urban Garden.

The Drama graduate from Northumbria University sprung in to action and immediately recalled some invaluable throw-bag water safety training that she’d learnt from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) and the RNLI.

The recollection of this breath-taking rescue is even more relevant as this week is Drowning Prevention Week a campaign being organised by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS).

At around 8:50pm, Amber heard her colleague shouting, “Quick, quick there’s a man drowning in the water!” So Amber grabbed the throw-bag – a piece of lifesaving equipment provided by the Waterside Responder Scheme – from behind the bar.

“I remember trying to get the young man’s attention, as I watched him lying on his back with his eyes closed, going in and out of the water. He was unresponsive.”

Amber, is originally from Northallerton in North Yorkshire and has worked at The Urban Garden for the past three-years.

In that time, Amber has twice received water safety training through the Waterside Responder Scheme delivered by TWFRS and the RNLI.  The scheme provides crucial throw-bag training to staff associated with companies who trade or are located along waterside locations.

Amber said: “It was a pleasure taking part in the training especially as the trainers are so passionate about teaching you ultimately how to save somebody’s life.

“A skill that helped immensely the other night when I had to put the training in to real life action.”

She continued: “The simple hints and tips sprung to mind when it really mattered. I was a bit in shock at the start of the incident as I always hoped that I’d never have to do it for real but I knew from the offset that I needed to get the rope and throw-bag as close to the person as possible.

“It acted like an anchor helping to keep his head above water.  I threw it out three times and the splash in the water from the last attempt seemed to wake up the young lad, who then managed to cling on to the rope for dear life.”

The incident happened close to the Millennium Bridge and once the man managed to grab on to the rope, Amber and four members of the public helped to pull him to safety, and he managed to climb up the nearest set of ladders near to the scene.

Crews from Byker and Newcastle Central Community Fire Stations including the Fire Boat were in attendance on the evening in question alongside blue light colleagues from Northumbria Police and North East Ambulance Service.

Amber concludes by recommending the throw-bag training delivered as part of the Waterside Responder Scheme.

She said: “I couldn’t recommend the water safety training enough. Everything I learnt was right there when I really needed it.

“I think the training is a necessity for everyone who works in the waterside hospitality sector as it should be our responsibility and loyalty to our patrons to keep them safe.

“It was a relief and an amazing feeling to know that I helped to save a person’s life.”

Sarah Schofield, Education & Engagement Manager for TWFRS, has today (Thursday) praised Amber for her actions: “I want to say a huge thank you to Amber and the members of the public whose quick-thinking and community spirit helped to save a person’s life.

“A gesture that I’d imagine will be echoed by the man’s friends and family.

“Amber’s actions were led by her knowledge and skills gained from the Waterside Responder training, which is testament to the hard work by officers from the Fire Service and our colleagues at the RNLI.

“Water safety training and being aware of the dangers that the water can pose to people returning home after a night out is paramount.

“We would always urge people to be mindful of those dangers and to stay safe.”

The throw-bag that Amber successfully used last week was provided to the venue as part of the Waterside Responder Scheme ran by TWFRS and the RNLI.

Earlier this year 16-throwline boards were installed along the Newcastle Quayside between the Redheugh Bridge and the Cycle Hub at the Ouseburn. A water safety scheme delivered with investment by Newcastle City Council.

These throwbags have already proved vital to the safety of residents, visitors and partygoers in the City with multiple lives being saved to date.

For further information about the Waterside Responder Scheme and how to sign up please visit the RNLI website by accessing the following link.

(Pictured above) Venue Manager Amber Hutton pictured at The Urban Garden alongside Firefighter Tommy Richardson from the TWFRS Education and Engagement team and Elliot Rogers from the RNLI.  Amber is holding an example of a throwbag that helped to save the young man’s life.