A MOTHER has thanked the emergency services staff who rescued her 12-year-old son after he fell eight metres into a river.

Chay Leighton was out on his bike with a friend when he fell into the River Irwell, near Mytham Road in Little Lever, on April 5.

Firefighters, paramedics and police raced to the scene at around 5.30pm and rescuers worked their way down to the water to help him to safety.

Chay, who is a pupil at Mount St Joseph High School, in Farnworth, suffered a broken wrist in the fall, and was placed on a spinal board before being taken by ambulance to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

Recalling her fear when she received a phone call telling her what happened, his mother Lesley Brady said: “I heard all the sirens because I had just walked back from the shop around the corner.

“I had this feeling, this nosiness that I don’t normally have. I sat down and had a brew, and was pottering around the house when one of the mums rang me on Facebook and told me to come down.

“When I got there I couldn’t believe it. You just think the worst. I thought something really severe has happened here. There were three fire engines and at least two ambulances.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt fear like it in my life.

“The emergency services didn’t let me go down and it was about 20 minutes before they brought him up.

“In that time, they were talking to me, keeping me calm, feeding me biscuits. I don’t think I’d have got through it if it wasn’t for them keeping me grounded."

Ms Brady, who lives in Fernbank Gardens, off Fearney Side in Little Lever, says she had been out with her son earlier that day to have his passport picture taken, and the incident happened just an hour after he had gone out to play.

She believes Chay and his friend had ventured down to the river, where Chay had been running a metal pipe through the water. The pipe then got caught, causing the youngster to fall.

She added: “They weren’t supposed to be down there, but they obviously got a bit adventurous. Boys will be boys at the end of the day, and they live and learn.

“I think he was a bit shocked and, at one point, he was almost hypothermic. He was really cold and shaking. By the time I’d seen him he was being carried out on a stretcher with a head piece on.

“He was in hospital overnight. They let him out at 9am and he was supposed to be going away on holiday that morning.

“He seems absolutely fine other than a fractured wrist, two grazes on his knees, scratches down his face, and a couple of cuts here and there. He’s been running around, just being Chay.

“He kept his humour the whole way through. He was laughing and joking under the influence of gas and air."

Ms Brady now says she wants to thank emergency personnel for their response and the support they offered to her and her son.

“They were very empathetic in how they delivered the information," she said.

"They didn’t look worried so that helped me."

“Chay’s not your average child because he’s autistic so handing that over to someone else, even though they are fully qualified, is scary.

“Even though it’s an awful memory, I’ll also remember all the help that was given to me and care given to my son.

“I just want to thank them for being so supportive. I know they do it every day, but what they do is so valuable.”