Andy Smith, aged 49, of Alcester Road, Stratford, stopped his car on the Seven Meadows Road bridge in Stratford around midnight on 7th March and witnessed the whole thing.

“We saw a few people and heard screaming so we stopped the car and got out. It became apparent fairly quickly that somebody had gone in the river,” he said.

“As I got there, there was a lad who had stripped off and he was swimming over to the girl.”

Andy’s wife called the emergency services while the pair watched on nervously from the bridge.

“He just held on to her for about 20 minutes or so, it was a hell of a long time and it was freezing don’t forget, I was freezing up on the bank.”

When the firefighters arrived, one tied a piece of rope around his waist and swam out to collect the girl.

The anonymous hero then swam over to the other bank and retrieved his clothes.

“He risked his life,” said Andy. “Without him, it’s 50/50 whether she would have survived to be honest.

“She was getting further and further away from the bridge, and it was pitch black.”

The Herald tracked down the woman but although she thanked her mystery swimmer, she did not want to be identified.

The man, who according to Andy looked like he was in his late 20s or early 30s, has not been found.

“I think this lad should be rewarded in some shape or form, I think it was brilliant what he did,” said Andy.

He’s not the only one. The UK’s drowning prevention charity, the Royal Life Saving Society, have joined the campaign.

Based in Broom, near Alcester, the charity was founded in 1891 and has more than 13,000 members. They want to find out more information on the local rescue attempt.

Adrian Lole, director of lifesaving, said: “Whilst we would always advise strongly against anyone entering the water to rescue someone and would ask they use other techniques to reach them, we would ask anyone who may know the identity of this man to get in touch.

“It would be good to know more information on the man, and the rescue and, if appropriate, consider recognising his actions with one of our awards.”

When he came across the incident, Andy was driving back from a party at The Fox pub in Loxley, one Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi also attended.

The MP said: “I wish to pay tribute to the quick-thinking and bravery of Stratford’s mystery ‘life-saver’, and would urge him to come forward and receive the recognition he deserves for his selfless and public spirited actions.”

Do you know the mystery swimmer who rescued the drowning woman? Call the Herald newsdesk at 01789 412819 or e-mail news@stratford-herald.com and help us recognise him properly.

Photo River Avon, Seven Meadows Road Bridge (David Dixon) / CC BY-SA 2.0″