Photo from nursing home sparks letter to 'hero' who saved child from drowning

Photo from nursing home sparks letter to 'hero' who saved child from drowning

By Denise O’Donoghue

A woman reading the 'Irish Examiner' was inspired to write a touching letter to a nursing home resident in Co Cork after she saw a photo of the man who once saved her life on its front page.

A photograph of George O’Sullivan, a resident of Cramers Court Nursing Home in Belgooly, Kinsale, graced the newspaper's front page last month. It shows George greeting his daughter Lilian and grandson George through the window after visiting restrictions were put in place due to the Covid-19 crisis.

George O’Sullivan, resident of Cramers Court Nursing Home in Belgooly, Kinsale, Co Cork, greeting his daughter Lillian and grandson George from his bedroom window. Photo: Teresa O’Donovan


A few weeks later, a letter from Elsie arrived at the home for George.

Elsie said she was "delighted" to see the picture of George, who once saved her from drowning at a beach when she was a child.

"It brought back memories from my childhood of 'The Man With The Tan' on Myrtleville beach, where we holidayed every summer. This was the name myself and my friends gave to you as we didn't know your name then. You laughed heartily years later when you heard your nickname," wrote Elsie, who is living in Cork city.


"I want to remind you of the story when I was 11 years old. I was swimming with my friends and as I stood up a young boy threw a 'rocker' into the water, which hit me on the forehead knocking me unconscious. I was bleeding from an open wound, face down in the water when 'The Man With The Tan' ran to my rescue and carried me to my parents, who immediately got me to hospital.

She described George as a hero for his swift reaction.

"Without you George I shudder to think what might have been the outcome. I learned after the incident that your name was George O'Sullivan, loving and loved father.

I am eternally grateful to you for your quick reaction, care and compassion. You have ever since been a hero of mine.


Elsie wrote that she became friends with George's daughter, Lilian. Through this friendship, she came to know George as "the perfect gentleman, great company and modest about all your achievements as a scientist, sportsman, musician and cousin of Michael Collins."

She described George as "a wonderful human being in every way" whom she has "always admired and respected".

Elsie praised the "loving care and compassion" her "friend and hero" is receiving in Cramers Court. "All that you gave in your lifetime is being returned to you now by the wonderful staff," she wrote.