Hero who rescued blind man with dementia from canal is revealed as millionaire lottery winner

JS86167011After giving the driver his old address, Neville got lost and fell in the canal.

The M.E.N has tracked down the hero jogger who rescued a pensioner from the Rochdale Canal – and he’s a millionaire lottery winner!

It seems Alun Jones is a human good luck charm after scooping £1.1m, then being in precisely the right place at the right time to save vulnerable Neville Tyldesley.

As we told yesterday the 80-year-old great-grandfather, who is blind and has dementia, was sent home in a taxi from the Manchester Royal Infirmary on Easter Monday – despite his family repeatedly urging staff to phone them so they could collect him themselves.

JS86167014But after giving the driver his old address, he got lost and fell in the canal.

That’s when Alun – who very nearly skipped a run that day – dragged him from the freezing water before taking him home.

Today after he contacted us, we reunited him with Neville and his family. And they could finally thank their hero properly.

But Alun, 30, from Ancoats, who quit his job at a health and safety firm after winning the the Lotto two years ago, insists anyone would have done the same.

He added: “I don’t consider myself lucky, someone has to win the lottery.

“But I suppose it was very fortunate to have rescued Neville as I almost didn’t go for a jog because it was a bank holiday, I was putting it off.

“The whole path was deserted apart from us. It’s weird how some things happen for a reason – if I hadn’t gone running something terrible could have happened.

“I don’t think I did anything special, just what I could. But I can’t believe he was allowed to leave hospital on his own like that.”

JS86167006Alun, a horticulture student, was stunned when he saw frozen Neville lying face down, bleeding and soaked at the edge of the towpath, with part of his body still in the canal.

He added: “ At first I thought it was someone lying down to pick something up, but as I got closer I could see that he was in trouble.

“I asked him if he needed an ambulance but he said that he needed to see his daughter. His fleece was soaked through so I took off my running top and put it on him.”

They began walking and bumped into a neighbour to direct them – before running into friends of the family who drove them the rest of the way.

Alun said he spoke briefly to the family before heading off again.

He added: “I said ‘make sure you don’t go swimming in any canals again’. I was trying to lighten the load. I didn’t know that Neville was blind or had dementia until we got to his daughter’s house. He just kept saying how fortunate it was that I found him. I didn’t want to say anything because I thought I’d well up.”

Alun, who has travelled the world, had flying lessons, paid off his parents’ mortgage and bought a dream car thanks to his win, aims to work in sports horticulture.

He added: “It was great to meet up with Neville again and see that he’s okay.”

Neville’s daughter, Diane Brannan, who has demanded to know why Neville was allowed to leave hospital on his own, said: “It was so good to thank Alun from the bottom of our hearts. It was all a blur when he came home with dad.

“If it wasn’t for him my dad could have been dead. It was very very lucky. It was Bank Holiday and the streets were so quiet – he might not have been found.

“My dad remembers the canal now, he says he would have been a ‘gonner’ without Alun’.

A spokeswoman from the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are extremely sorry to hear of an event which took place following Mr Tyldesley’s discharge from hospital.

Our patients’ safety is our utmost priority and Mr Tyldesley was assessed by a member of our team before his discharge. We have launched a full investigation into how this decision was reached.

“We would like to express our sincere regret that this incident took place to both Mr Tyldesley and his family and would urge Mr Tyldesley’s family to contact us so that we can discuss their concerns further.”

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