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Last Updated: Monday, 16 August, 2004, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Prescott leaps to aid of kayaker
John Prescott whitewater rafting in North Wales (photo courtesy of Liverpool Daily Post and Echo)
John Prescott was not put off his own go at whitewater rafting

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott leapt to the aid of a man who fell from a boat into rapids in a north Wales river at the weekend.

Mr Prescott was in Bala, Snowdonia, on Friday when he saw a kayaker fall in and cut his forehead.

Graham Cook, 35, from near Norwich, struggled to a quay where Mr Prescott and his bodyguard pulled him to safety.

"One of my Special Branch guys...grabbed hold of one side, I got hold of the other," he told the Daily Post.

I didn't realise at the time who it was that dragged me out because I had just gone about 80 metres in grade four white water
Kayaker Graham Cook

Mr Prescott said the kayaker was wounded and concussed and that he mopped the blood from his face.

He then let the man rest for a few minutes before carrying him over to a first aid place at the Canolfan Tryweryn whitewater rafting experience where "other people took over".

Mr Cook, a married father of three, needed six stitches in his face.

"I didn't realise at the time who it was that dragged me out because I had just gone about 80 metres in grade four white water, upside down with a raft following me," he said.

"I was a bit a dazed and I was getting changed, ready to go to the hospital, and his car stopped and he asked me if I was OK.

"He seemed genuinely concerned," he added.

Graham Cook with John Prescott
Graham Cook did not at first realise who his rescuer was

A plumber from Ashby St Mary, near Norwich, Mr Cook said he was "very grateful" to Mr Prescott for stepping forward and doing "the business".

He is hoping to make the deputy prime minister an honorary member of his canoe club, Waveney Valley Canoe Club, based in Bungay Staithe.

He might even ask Mr Prescott to open the club's new half a million pound club house.

"It would be nice if we could try and get him to do the honours."

After the rescue, Mr Prescott donned a lifejacket and helmet and went on a whitewater rafting trip himself.

A spokesman for the whitewater centre in Bala said Mr Prescott took two trips down the river with other members of the public.

"He seemed to enjoy the rafting very much and was impressed with the facilities," he added.

The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"Mr Prescott and two other men reached into the water and pulled him to safety"

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