A quick-thinking schoolgirl has been honoured by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) after saving a friend from drowning.

Eight-year-old Leisel Gallacher was playing near a pool at a stream called Kello Water in Kirkconnel, Dumfriesshire, in July when her playmate Lawrie O’Connor slipped off a rock.

Realising that her friend was unable to swim and in difficulty, Leisel managed to reach out and pull her to safety.


The schoolgirl said she knew what to do following the incident at the pool, known as Coal Hole Burn, after taking part in the RLSS UK’s Drowning Prevention Week campaign.

Drowning Prevention Week is the national campaign run by the RLSS UK which promotes water safety messages across the UK in an effort to reduce the hundreds of deaths caused by accidental drowning in the UK each year.

Leisel, who attends Kelloholm Primary in Kelloholm, said: “I didn’t want my friend to drown.

“I knew what to do straight away because I had learned basic lifesaving skills at my swimming lesson.”

In recognition of her bravery, the RLSS UK has awarded Leisel a Young Person’s Commendation.

Janet Castro, of RLSS UK’s Scotland West branch, presented her with her award on September 13 at Sanquhar F.U.N Pool in Sanquhar.

Janet said: “It was an extremely brave thing to do and Leisel should be very proud of herself.”

Drowning Prevention Week will take place next year from 20 to 28 June 2015. Register your interest at www.drowningpreventionweek.org.uk.