Man who died 'saving the lives' of his children at Barmouth Beach named
A father-of-seven died 'rescuing three of his children' when they got into difficulty in the sea while on a family trip to north Wales, it has been reported.Jonathan Stevens was with his family at Barmouth beach when they began to struggle in the water at lunchtime on Sunday.Plasterer Mr Stevens, 36, tried to pull his children, who are believed to have been caught in the rip tide, to safety.
A major rescue operation was launched, with a lifeboat and Coastguard search and rescue helicopter, and Mr Stevens - known as Joff to his friends - was pulled from the water.He was airlifted to hospital but died in Ysbyty Gwynedd.
On Monday, his partner Laura Burford said Mr Stevens, from Telford, had "died a hero", "saving their babies".Ms Burford, 34, who was at home in Telford when the incident happened, said: "I am absolutely devastated to say that I have lost the complete love of my life."All seven of his beautiful kids have lost their dad. He died saving his kids' lives in the sea."There are no words to describe the pain. I will always be grateful to (him) for bringing our babies back."I love him, always have, and always will."
A fundraising page has been set up for Ms Burford, and for Mr Stevens' children, by friend Mel Plowman.She described Mr Stevens as a "true hero", and said she hoped to raise money to support Mr Stevens' loved ones.
Ms Burford's sister Farah Parsons said: "Joff is all our hero. My sister and her children are beside themselves as is everyone. Joff was a well loved person by everyone."Another family member said it was "devastating news". She said: "He was one hell of good dad, he will be missed so much by everyone. An unreal family day out turned into a tragedy."It is understood Mr Stevens had been in Gwynedd with three of his children, aged between 10 and 12, when the tragedy occurred.He was flown to Ysbyty Gwynedd by air ambulance. Video from the scene showed several emergency response vehicles at the scene.A spokesman for North Wales Police said: "Police and the Coastguard were called at 1.58pm on Sunday to a report that a man had got into difficulty in the sea in Barmouth."The man was taken by air ambulance to Ysbyty Gwynedd, where he tragically died."
A Coastguard spokesman said: "At 1.31pm HM Coastguard received a 999 call reporting people in the water off Barmouth and sent Barmouth coastguard rescue team, Barmouth RNLI lifeboat, and HM Coastguard's fixed wing aircraft."Barmouth harbour master and the Coastguard rescue helicopter and helimed also attended. A male casualty was recovered from the water and transferred to Ysbyty Gwynedd in a serious condition."A spokeswoman for the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 1.39pm to reports of persons caught in a rip tide at Barmouth beach."We sent two rapid response cars and two emergency ambulances to the scene where crews were also supported by a Wales Air Ambulance and a search and rescue helicopter."Three patients were taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd.”