A HEROIC teenager who rescued a Three Towns schoolgirl who was blown out to sea off the Saltcoats coast last year says he “just did what anyone would have done” in the same situation after he was given a police bravery award for his lifesaving efforts.

Liam Erskine, 18, from Newcastle was on holiday in Saltcoats and was on his paddleboard when he heard screams coming from a nine-year-old girl who was being blown out to sea on an inflatable toy.

He was able to reach the child and was hailed a hero for his quick reactions on what could have resulted in a potentially tragic incident.

He recalled: “I had just got a new paddleboard so I was playing with that but then I heard the screams coming from the far end of the beach.

“There was a little girl in an inflatable toy moving at some speed so it was a split second decision and I was thinking I can get to her and I do not remember much more after that as the adrenalin was going and I just remember trying to get to her.

“I remember grabbing her and picking her up and no sooner than that the inflatable was lifted up by the wind and taken out of eyesight. We were about 400 yards out, the water was deep, there were big waves, the wind and the current was going away from the shoreline so it was like being on a treadmill except I was in the water trying to paddle against the tide.

“What was going through my mind was keeping the little girl safe, I had to calm her down and tell her we were going to be okay.”

The coastguard and lifeboat arrived on scene shortly after and thanks to Liam’s quick actions the girl was unharmed and was reunited with family.

Following his heroic actions Liam was given a police bravery award last week.

Speaking to the Herald Liam said: “When they first got in touch to nominate me it was surreal because in my mind I just did what anyone would have done. I never thought it would happen to me.

“When you watch the news you see something like this but you never think it will happen to you, so to be on the beach having fun and to be in this life threatening situation is very surreal. I am just glad what I did got the girl back safely.

“It is an honour to be among people who did amazing things to win this award.”