May 4 2011 By Siba Matti
Curtis Botten UX211210tvrescu02
A FEARLESS father-of-one who risked his life to save two young boys from drowning in a frozen lake has been commended for his courage.
Curtis Botten, 23, has been nominated for the Courageous Citizen category of the annual Local Heroes Awards, run the Uxbridge Gazette and Leader Series, together with Uxbridge College.
The person crowned the Hero of Hillingdon will take home an amazing £500, with £200 and a trophy given to the winner of each of the five categories, including Community Champion, Outstanding Young Person, Star Carer and Fabulous Fundraiser.
As reported in the Gazette, Mr Botten was one of six brave rescuers who raced to the boys' aid, in the middle of a blizzard, after being alerted by a walker who heard their screams.
The boys, named only as Curtis, 11, and Jack, 12, plunged through an icy lake close to Mr Botten's home in Wraysbury Drive, West Drayton, on December 18 last year.
Mr Botten was nominated for a Local Hero award by his fiancée, Kerri Slayven, 23, mother to his four-year-old daughter, Kelsey.
Ms Slayven told the Gazette of the dramatic rescue: "Curtis showed no fear and acted on impulse – he is not the type of person to watch someone in trouble without helping as best as he can, regardless of his own safety.
"He was alerted to the situation by a neighbour who asked if we had any rope.
"We had a five-metre extension cable and Curtis and the other neighbours used it to attempt to pull the boys out of the lake.
"We managed to get the youngest boy out of the lake but the second boy started to struggle and couldn't stay afloat any longer."
Despite having his arm in a sling, having recently received hospital treatment for a suspected broken collarbone, Mr Botten, a trained lifeguard, threw himself into the freezing lake to save the youngster.
Ms Slayven added: "As he pulled the boy's head out of the water, he gasped for air, pushing Curtis under.
"But he remained focused and pulled the boy to safety, then ran off to find their parents.
"The ambulance took 40 minutes to arrive because of the terrible weather conditions and also because we live in quite an isolated area.
"The two boys were taken to hospital with severe hypothermia and Curtis was also treated for mild hypothermia, but luckily it was nothing serious and all three of them are fine now.
"I was very shocked he put himself in that position knowing what the consequences could have been, as we have a child ourselves, and at first I thought, 'how can you be so stupid?
"But he wouldn't dream of standing back and watching someone suffer, that's just the kind of person he is, even if it means putting himself in danger.
"Not a lot of people would be willing to put their life at risk for someone else and we are all extremely proud of him.
"It makes me feel safe to know that if we were ever in trouble, Curtis would be there.
"What happened was a real test of courage and Curtis proved he has it has it in abundance. It's a fantastic quality for any human being to have.
"Curtis didn't do this to receive any recognition or get a trophy, he did it out of the kindness of his heart, so winning an award would just be a bonus for him."
A modest Mr Botten, who works as a production controller for a metal plating company, told the Gazette: "It was instinct, it all happened so quickly and I didn't really have any choice, I just thought if I went into the lake, I could hopefully get the boy out.
"I just got on with it, the adrenaline was pumping and I didn't have time to think about anything else.
"It was absolutely freezing, especially when I was running around trying to find the boys' parents, the cold numbed everything.
"Afterwards I was in a state of shock, I couldn't believe what had just happened, and I can still remember the screams.
"But it feels good knowing that we all helped to save their lives – who knows what would have happened if we hadn't been around that day.
"I would certainly be very proud if I won the award, although I would share it with everyone else who helped save the day with their quick thinking."