Search on for George saved by hero in 1936

Doreen Brown holding a picture of her grandad John Evans and the boy he saved, George Reilly.
Doreen Brown holding a picture of her grandad John Evans and the boy he saved, George Reilly.

The granddaughter of a hero is appealing for help in tracing the boy her relative saved.

On August 3, 1936, John Evans saved the life of a young boy who was drowning in the river Blyth.

The 63-year-old jumped into the river and was able to pull the boy – five-year-old George Reilly – to safety.

Now Mr Evans’ granddaughter Doreen Brown is hoping to find either Mr Reilly or any of his relatives after coming across details of the story.

“I have in my possession a photo of the boy sitting on my grandfather’s knee,” she said.

“The boy would be about 84 years of age now and I would like to know if George has any family who may be interested in seeing the photo.

“My grandfather was quite a character in Blyth where he would do underwater tricks, he also saved the lives of many boys from drowning.”

The incident hit the headlines at the time, with the Blyth News (which later became the News Post Leader) reporting on the dramatic rescue.

The newspaper reported how hundreds of holidaymakers watched the drama unfold from the quayside.

At the time, Mr Evans told the Blyth News: “I heard shouts of ‘There’s a boy drowning’. I rushed to the riverside and saw the boy bobbing. He was going down for the last time when I caught hold of him.”

Mr Evans was commended and received a certificate from the Royal Humane Society for his bravery and his quick actions. The former miner was well known at the time for his tricks while swimming, which included smoking a cigar underwater and freeing himself from handcuffs, and he was also a former Blyth Spartans footballer.

In the years before he came to the aid of young George Reilly, he had rescued six boys from the river who were in danger of drowning. George Reilly was five at the time of rescue, and lived in Hambleton Street in Blyth at the time.

Anyone with information can email