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Reunited: James Cracknell and his son with the family they saved

Jim Greatorex held back tears as he thanked James Cracknell. Credit: ITV News

Today a grandfather held back tears as he was reunited with the man who saved his and his grandson's life - Olympic rower James Cracknell.

He had waded in to try to reach his 7-year-old grandson Emerson, who was in trouble off Croyde beach. They ended up both being saved from drowning by the sportsman and his son Croyde, who is named after the beach.

Now Mr Greatorex and his family have had the chance to thank them both - and as he said today, 11-year-old Croyde is just as much a hero as his famous father.

The Cracknells were surfing when Croyde spotted the pair struggling in the water. Credit: SWNS

James Cracknell and son rescue pair of struggling swimmers at Croyde beach

James Cracknell and his son Croyde, 11, who helped save Emerson Fairclough, 7, and his grandfather Jim Greatorex from the sea at Croyde beach Credit: SWNS

Former Olympic rower James Cracknell and his son Croyde have been praised for their quick thinking and bravery after rescuing a family from drowning this weekend.

Cracknell and his son were surfing at Croyde Bay in Devon on Saturday when Croyde spotted a grandfather and his grandson struggling in the water and alerted his father before dashing over to help.

The 11-year-old surfer assisted Jim Greatorex, 67, telling him to hold on to his board, as his father made his way towards the man's grandson Emerson who reportedly was yelling "I'm 7, I'm too young to die."

After reaching the struggling swimmers the father and son Cracknell team were able to bring everyone back to safety and everyone walked away "shaken but fine".

Jim Greatorex and his grandson Emerson were shocked to discover the Cracknells were their rescuers Credit: SWNS


Rescued swimmer dies

A woman rescued from the sea off Croyde has died.

The woman, thought to be in the area with a group from Bristol, had been swept out to sea.

She was found after a two hour search by the coastguard helicopter and lifeboat crews and airlifted to North Devon District Hospital, but attempts to revive her failed.

Police believe she was in North Devon on holiday with her family and was either surfing or swimming when the tragedy happened.

Female swimmer rescued off Croyde

A woman's been airlifted to hospital after a two hour rescue operation in the sea off the North Devon coast.

The woman, who's thought to have been with a party of friends from Bristol, was reported missing as they swam off Baggy Point near Croyde at around 11.30 this morning.

Two lifeboats from nearby Appledore and a rescue helicopter from RMB Chivenor were dispatched to look for her with Croyde Coastguard Rescue.

She was taken to North Devon Hospital in Barnstaple but her condition is unknown.

Elkie Brooks to judge National Sandcastle Competition

The singer Elkie Brooks is turning her skills to judging sandcastles today Credit: Hanne Jordan/DPA/Press Association Images

Teams from North Devon are getting ready with their buckets and spades to battle it out in the UK National Sandcastle Competition. It takes place on Croyde beach from midday. The teams have three hours to come up with their designs, which will be judged by legendary British singer, Elkie Brooks.

One of the sand sculptures at the 2011 competition Credit: North Devon Hospice

There will be plenty of other activities on offer, including a Punch and Judy show and a competition for younger sandcastle builders.

It's all to raise money for the North Devon Hospice, which cares for those affected by a life-threatening illness.

Children will get a chance to wield their buckets and spades too Credit: North Devon Hospice


"Bastille" to perform at surf festival in Croyde

"Bastille" will be headlining at the Goldcoast Oceanfest in Croyde this weekend Credit: EMPICS Entertainment

One of the region's largest surfing and music festivals is happening in North Devon this weekend. This year Bastille are headlining and Gabrielle Aplin is also performing at the Goldcoast Oceanfest in Croyde. The surfers will compete for two days, next to the festival and music area.

More than 60 people rescued from North Devon sea

Woolacombe Beach, North Devon. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Huge waves and strong rip currents led to more than 60 people being rescued from the sea in North Devon at the weekend.

Lifeguards gave oxygen to one person on the beach at Croyde, and four members of the same family were taken to North Devon District Hospital.

In total, 46 people were rescued at Croyde, with another 18 at Woolacombe.

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