'True hero': Telford man dies saving his children from the sea

A Telford man has died after rescuing three of his children when they were caught in a rip tide off the Welsh coast. Jonathan Stevens has been hailed a "true hero".

Jonathan Stevens
Jonathan Stevens

Mr Stevens, who was 36, got into difficulty while saving his children from a rip current off the coast of Barmouth, in Wales, on Sunday.

He was holidaying at the popular tourist destination with his children. A fundraiser set up to support his seven children has raised more than £1,700.

The emergency services were called at about 1.30pm after Mr Stevens, who was known affectionately as Joff, got into difficulty off a beach in Barmouth.

The Coastguard, police and several ambulances attended. Mr Stevens was airlifted to the hospital at Ysbyty Gwynedd, where he died of his injuries. His family rushed to Wales when they heard what happened.

Mr Stevens lived in the Woodside area in Telford although he grew up in Shrewsbury. His sister Kim Stevens paid tribute, describing him as "a dad to seven, an amazing son, and brother to his five sisters".

"He has died a hero for saving his kids' lives and risking his own," she said.

"He will always be remembered as an amazing man, brother, son and dad. We are all in bits."

A friend has established an online fundraiser. She said the money will go to help Mr Stevens' children and his former partner, Laura Burford.


Mel Plowman, who set it up last night, wrote: "As you will have all seen the tragic news of a true hero who sadly lost his life whilst saving his children.

"I wanted to set up this fund page to help Laura with any costs she may need along the way and also a little keep gift for the children as a memory of their hero.

"We're all thinking of you at this very sad time! Lots of love."

A Coastguard spokesman said that a lifeboat and fixed-wing aircraft were sent after people were reported in the water.

A statement from the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 1.39pm to reports of persons caught in a rip tide at Barmouth beach.

"We sent two rapid response cars and two emergency ambulances to the scene where crews were also supported by a Wales Air Ambulance and a search and rescue helicopter."

To view and donate to the fundraiser, visit gofundme.com/f/a-gift-for-the-children-from-their-hero

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