A WIDOW has praised the teenagers who tried to save her husband’s life for their bravery.
The boys pulled 83-year-old Arnold Gwilliam out of a stream in Eynsham and tried to revive him until help arrived.
Although Mr Gwilliam later died, his grieving widow and family say they are pleased that he was not left alone in his final moments.
Nicky Wishart, 15, Tyler Walker, 16, and Ollie Hinchliffe, 16, were in the recreation ground off Oxford Road last month when they heard Mr Gwilliam’s dog Jake barking.
They rushed over and found him struggling in the Chill Brook.
The three lifted him out and called 999 when he became unconscious.
Nicky and Tyler then took turns to perform CPR until a PCSO and then an ambulance arrived.
Now Mr Gwilliam’s widow June, 85, said they should be given an award.
“It was absolutely marvellous,” she said.
“It was comfort for Arnold when he needed it.”
She said she wanted to see the boys recognised because it had been a “wonderful comfort” to the family.
Daughter Loretta Taylor, from Witney, also said it helped to know that her father was not alone in his final moments.
The boys were sitting on a bench in the park when they realised something was wrong on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 28.
Bartholomew School pupil Nicky said: “It is not something you think would ever happen. It was like no-one stood there and thought about it. We were all in the river trying to get him out.
“At least before he went, he knew somebody was there.”
Tyler, a plumbing student at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College, said he and his friends were proud of what they did.
He said: “I didn’t feel anything at the time. I was focused. It didn’t really hit me until afterwards.”
Mr Gwilliam was taken to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, but later died.
PCSO Helen Keen, from the Eynsham neighbourhood team, took over CPR from the boys until the paramedics arrived. And yesterday she backed calls to honour the teenagers.
She said: “It was an incredibly brave thing to do, and for such young people to be so mature. It was a very sad ending, but they gave him a fighting chance.
“We have that training, these children don’t. That is what makes it incredible. “They just did what came naturally to them. Hats off to them: they did not panic.
“They should be incredibly proud of themselves. It is reassuring that strangers and young people are prepared to put themselves out and do incredible things.”
The teenagers were invited to Mr Gwilliam’s funeral, which was held at St Leonard’s Church in the village on September 12.