Priest rescues drunk who fell into Mersey

Fr Tom Gagie has told how he rushed to help a man who fell into the Mersey
Fr Tom Gagie has told how he rushed to help a man who fell into the Mersey

A St Helens priest has told how he raced to the rescue of a man who fell from a dock wall into the river Mersey.

Fr Tom Gagie, the parish priest of St Mary’s Lowe House and St Thomas of Canterbury’s Windleshaw, was taking a stroll on the Liverpool Pier Head when he spotted a man standing on the edge of the dock wall.

When the man then fell some 40ft onto the mud flats below the 61-year-old raced to the Merseyside Police headquarters to get help.

It’s lucky he did too, as nobody else had spotted that the man was in serious danger.

He said: “I’m an early riser and decided to take a stroll along the Pier Head just before 6am.

“As I was walking along I turned around and saw this figure who looked like he was talking to the river and shaking his head.

“He had really long hair and looked like he had just turned up from a rock concert.

“I was concerned because he was standing right on the edge of the wall - and when I turned around again he was gone.

“I knew immediately that he had fallen into the Mersey below. He had been standing at a part of the wall which wasn’t protected by railings.

“Luckily for him the tide was out at the time - otherwise he could quite easily have drowned.

“The tide was coming in though so I raced to the police headquarters to tell them what I had seen.”

Amazingly, it was a case of history repeating itself too as Fr Gagie’s grandfather was awarded a bravery certificate back in 1914 for saving a drowning woman.

He added: “When I returned to the spot where he had fallen, there was no sign of him.

“For a moment I wondered if my mind had been playing tricks on me!

“But they found him hiding inside an inlet in the river wall.

“He was taken to hospital but, amazingly, had not suffered serious injuries.

“I was so relieved he was okay and that he was found before the tide came in.

“Apparently, he told police he had just had too much to drink.”