Firefighters rely on their fast reactions every day – and Stephen Wharton’s incredible response proved to be a life-saver for one young boy.

The Cumbria firefighter has won a Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Award, in the Emergency Services category, after rescuing 13-year-old Kacper Krouze from the depths of the River Eden, 25 minutes after he first became submerged. Incredibly, the teenager survived and is now slowly recovering after three weeks in an induced coma.

Stephen, who is Crew Manager with Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, will appear alongside more of the UK’s unsung heroes at the annual event, which will be broadcast on ITV on November 4.

Kacper had been trying to swim across the river when he began struggling to stay afloat due to the cold. When Stephen arrived on scene with his crew, he’d been underwater for a long period of time so, not hesitating, Stephen immediately attempted to dive down to get him.

Realising his flotation device and safety gear was preventing him reaching the depth he needed, he went against protocol and pulled it all off, before diving the 15ft to pull Kacper up. Amazingly, the young boy was resuscitated by paramedics and is now recovering with his parents by his side.

Stephen is a dedicated supporter of the Charity. In recent years he held a sponsored walk with his crew, trekking to Murton Pike, which is 594m high, in fancy dress, full fire kit and BA. Recently he took part in a coffee morning in Appleby and raised an impressive £438 for the Charity. Now he’s in the process of planning another fundraising event due to take place next year.

When sharing his knowledge of the support provided by the Charity, Stephen says “Over recent years we have had a few crew members both past and present who have used the facilities at Jubilee House for injuries, including back pain, sciatica and knee surgery.”

“Every one of them had nothing but praise for the team there. These centres are a great asset”.

We would like to thank Stephen for his years of support and congratulate him on winning this incredible award.

The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB, will be broadcast on ITV 1 on 4th November at 8pm.