A hero schoolboy who dived into a swollen river to save his six-year-old neighbour from drowning has told of how he was just trying to be "like my brave mum."
Police officer's son Luke Pace,12, leapt into action after seeing neighbour Suranne Atkinson fall into the water as she played with friends.
Luke jumped into the fast-flowing torrent near his home in Little Billing, Northamptonshire, and managed to drag Suranne to safety last Tuesday.
He then helped Suranne walk half-a-mile back to her home which is opposite his house where she was reunited with her relieved mother.
Modest Luke said on Wednesday that he was just trying to follow in the footsteps of his award-winning cop mum.
He said: ‘I was in the woods with my friends Morgan and Billy, and my brother Michael when we saw Suranne and her friend Mia.
‘They were playing, running up and down near the edge.
‘Suddenly we heard a big splash, and looked up to see Suranne in the water.
‘I couldn't see her head, but she was throwing her arms about trying to bring it up above the water.
‘I didn't know if she could swim so I just jumped in and pulled her head above water.
‘I asked if she was OK, and got her to safety.
‘Then I asked my friends to start walking her back, while I ran ahead to get her mother.
‘I didn't want the hassle but people at school have been calling me 'hero Pace' since it happened - I've just started a new school but everyone knows who I am already.
‘I've seen my mum get these awards for helping people out and I just wanted to do the same.
‘I wanted to be like my brave mum.’
Mum Pc Sallie Shortland has two awards for her brave work - an Assistant Chief Constable's Commendation in 2010 and an Assistant Chief Constable's Commendation in 2011.
Sallie, 38, who has been an officer in Northamptonshire Police for seven years, said: ‘He didn't think twice and just jumped in after her and pulled her to safety.
‘Luke was just so casual about it and took it all in his stride - he came back and told me about it and I said: 'Crikey mate, are you OK?’
‘He just turned around to me, shrugged and said he was fine.
"He casually went upstairs, got changed out of his wet clothes and went back out to play.
‘I couldn't believe it. I am very proud of him.
‘Luke will do anything to help anybody - he really is very selfless.
‘I think it's a streak he got from me and maybe he has seen my awards as a police officer as something to look up to.
‘I have received two awards as a police officer - one for helping an old man when his house filled with gas and another for keeping alive a man who had severed an artery in his leg.
‘Who knows maybe he will follow in my footsteps into the police one day.’
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Luke's grandfather, Chris Walker presented him with a trophy and plaque that reads: "Our little hero".
He also received a 'thank you' card from Suranne, #5, and congratulations from his and Suranne's schools.
Suranne's mum Lesley Howell, 44, said: ‘When Luke came to my door dripping wet and said he'd just rescued Suranne from the river - I just froze.
‘When I found out she was OK I just cuddled him and couldn't stop thanking him. Without Luke - my daughter would be dead.
‘It's a real steep drop and there's no way she could have got out. He is our little hero.
‘Suranne couldn't sleep that night and kept on bursting into tears - but in time she will be fine and I hope he two of them will be friends for life.’