SARAH VINE: Ordinary hero who saved our faith in humanity trying to rescue a total stranger from the Thames deserves to be included in memorial

There is in Postman’s Park in the City of London a humble yet remarkable memorial. It’s a small walkway that houses 54 elegantly inscribed ceramic tablets, decorated in the Art Nouveau style of the late-1800s.

Each commemorates an act of selfless bravery by a member of the public, one that ultimately cost them their life.

It was the idea of George Watts, a painter and sculptor who was inspired by the story of Alice Ayres, a bricklayer’s daughter who, in 1885, ‘by intrepid conduct saved three children from a burning house in Union Street, Borough, at the cost of her own young life’.

Jimi Olubunmi-Adewole (pictured) died as he tried to save a woman — a total stranger — from the Thames at London Bridge, writes SARAH VINE

All the plaques tell similar stories, seemingly ordinary people who ended up doing something extraordinary out of bravery, losing their own life in the process.

A surprising number of them record people who died trying to save others from drowning, including one G. Garnish, a young clergyman ‘who lost his life endeavouring to rescue a stranger from drowning at Putney’ in 1885.

More than a century later, on Saturday night, another name was added to that roll-call of gentle, tragic heroism: 20-year-old Jimi Olubunmi-Adewole, who died as he tried to save a woman — a total stranger — from the Thames at London Bridge.

Hearing her cries, he and another man dived into the river to rescue her. The woman and the other man were eventually picked up by the Metropolitan Police’s marine unit — but they couldn’t find Jimi.

A search operation was launched, and his body was found several hours later.

A campaign has now been launched to add Jimi to the memorial in Postman’s Park.

There is in Postman’s Park in the City of London a humble yet remarkable memorial. It’s a small walkway that houses 54 elegantly inscribed ceramic tablets (some pictured), decorated in the Art Nouveau style of the late-1800s. Each commemorates an act of selfless bravery by a member of the public, one that ultimately cost them their life, writes SARAH VINE

There is no question in my mind that he deserves to be included. Because people like him don’t just save one person; they save all of us — spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

Think of Darryn Frost, a civil servant at the Ministry of Justice, who, as Usman Khan launched his knife attack in Fishmongers’ Hall in 2019, grabbed a narwhal tusk off the wall and pursued the terrorist across London Bridge, wielding it like a broadsword with no thought for his own safety.

Or Patrick Hutchinson, a fiftysomething fitness fanatic, father and grandfather, who strode into the crowd at a Black Lives Matter march last summer to emerge with an injured Bryn Male — a retired transport police officer and Millwall FC fan — slung over his shoulder.

Male and his mates had been drinking and stirring up trouble at the protest, but that didn’t matter to Mr Hutchinson, who said later: ‘Some people have asked me why I bothered saving him, and I understand their frustration. But my natural instinct is to protect the vulnerable.’

 A surprising number of them (some pictured in 1930) record people who died trying to save others from drowning, writes SARAH VINE

It’s people like this, a rare and special breed, who restore our faith in the power and goodness of the human heart. And that is something that cannot help but inspire us.

What Jimi Olubunmi-Adewole did as he walked home from work with his friend, led to tragedy. But it came from a place of true goodness. His bravery and moral altruism shine like a beacon in the dark.

Such selflessness, such nobility of instinct, are not virtues that seem common in the modern age, and yet this young man clearly possessed them both.

I can’t even begin to imagine the grief his parents must be feeling. But the very least they deserve is to see his name honoured alongside others like him. And to know that in centuries to come, his sacrifice — like all those others — will be remembered.

What Jimi Olubunmi-Adewole did as he walked home from work with his friend, led to tragedy. But it came from a place of true goodness. His bravery and moral altruism shine like a beacon in the dark, writes SARAH VINE. Pictured: Emergency services on The Thames

An affront to all women 

‘Cruel, inhumane and wholly unjustified’ is how the Prime Minister has described the treatment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been sentenced to another year in prison on trumped-up charges by the regime in Iran, having already served five years.

It’s a regime that — in a turn of events even Franz Kafka himself might have felt were somewhat implausible — was earlier this month elected as a member of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, whose mission is the ‘promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women’.

Call me old-fashioned, but locking up a defenceless young mother, removing all her rights and preventing her from seeing her young daughter seems an odd way of going about achieving that goal. Or am I just being picky here?

‘Cruel, inhumane and wholly unjustified’ is how the Prime Minister has described the treatment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (pictured with her daughter), who has been sentenced to another year in prison on trumped-up charges by the regime in Iran, having already served five years, writes SARAH VINE

Daniel should have kept mum 

Well done to Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emerald Fennell on their Oscars.

But my real congratulations go to the mother of Daniel Kaluuya (Best Supporting Actor).

Daniel was clearly so overwhelmed by it all that he ended his speech by blurting about her sex life. ‘My mum met my dad. They had sex . . . it’s amazing!’ he said, as cameras filmed the look of disbelief on her face (inset left).

The things we mothers put up with for the sake of our kids. Still, a proud moment, I’m sure. And one she certainly won’t forget any time soon.

Well done to Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emerald Fennell on their Oscars. But my real congratulations go to the mother of Daniel Kaluuya (pictured), writes SARAH VINE

Reward Ben’s sacrifice 

Paratrooper Ben Parkinson’s account of his journey back from the brink, after he became the most seriously injured British soldier to survive Afghanistan, is truly inspiring.

Serialised this week in the Mail, it’s a sobering reminder of the sacrifices our Armed Forces make — and of what the nation owes them.

Parkinson lost both legs above the knee, suffered a broken pelvis and spine as well as brain injuries in a bomb blast — he will need to be supported 24 hours a day for the rest of his life. And yet all he has for his troubles is a measly £24,000 a year on top of his Army pension.

Some people get more than that just for sitting at home on their backsides. Talk about adding insult to injury.

I’m not saying he should live in a palace and be fed peeled grapes by servants all day, but surely as a nation we should be able to do better than that?

 

  • I thought Jon Snow was looking wearier than usual as he read the Channel 4 news the other day. Now I know why: the 73-year-old has a new son, born via a surrogate, with wife Precious, 46. It seems to be a family tradition. Snow once wrote that his grandfather had fathered his mother at 73. Still, a new baby is a challenge — especially since his daughter by a previous partner had a son in late 2019. So: a grandfather and a father in almost the space of a year. No wonder he looks shattered. What I can’t work out is how the babies are related. Uncle and nephew? Half-uncle and half-nephew? Forget Call The Midwife, it’s a genealogist we need. 

I thought Jon Snow was looking wearier than usual as he read the Channel 4 news the other day. Now I know why: the 73-year-old has a new son, born via a surrogate, with wife Precious, 46 (pictured together), writes SARAH VINE


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  • A new study claims earning a degree does not, as once thought, protect you against brain shrinkage. I can’t say that comes as a great surprise. Indeed, I’d say the fastest way of reducing one’s intellectual options is to sign up to university and spend three years being brainwashed into joining the woke armies — while paying more than £9,000 a year for the privilege.
  • I don’t have much sympathy for Ghislaine Maxwell, awaiting trial in the U.S. on sex trafficking charges. But the fact she had to sleep with a sock over her eyes to stop herself being woken every 15 minutes by guards shining a light into her cell is a shameful indictment of America’s legal system. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect from Putin’s Russia, not the ‘land of the free’. 
  • There’s been a bit of a hoo-ha after the Truro Sainsbury’s put up a poster of some scones with the cream spread first. This caused outrage among locals who, as is the Cornish way, favour a jam-first approach. Devonians prefer the Sainsbury’s method. If you ask me, the cream, being dairy, acts in loco butyrum, and so should be applied first — problem solved. 

A pair of trainers worn by Kanye West has sold at auction for £1.3 million. That’s right: five times the average price of a house in England for a pair of old plimsolls. Even I am lost for words, writes SARAH VINE

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