A RESIDENT of Cramers Court Nursing Home in Belgooly – who featured in The Southern Star recently – turned out to be a real life hero when it emerged that he saved a young girl from drowning at Myrtleville beach over 50 years ago.
George O’Sullivan (90) – who incidentally is a cousin of Michael Collins – was pictured waving to his daughter Lilian and grandson George through the window at the nursing home recently when visitor restrictions were put in place due to Covid-19.
When Elsie Ahern from Blackrock saw his picture it brought back childhood memories for her because when she was 11-year-old, George – who was known to her and her friends as the “Man with the Tan” – saved her from drowning at the popular beach.
Elsie told The Southern Star that she then wrote a letter to George to remind him of his heroics from almost 50 years ago, when he was in his mid 30s. ‘It was amazing to see his picture and you can still see the life in him. I was delighted that the nurses read out my letter to him. He saved my life on the beach that day and I have so much to thank him for,’ said Elsie.
Elsie said she had been swimming with her friends at the beach when she got hit by a rock on her forehead which knocked her 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 took me to hospital.’ She said she is ‘eternally grateful’ to George for his quick reaction, care and compassion. ‘You have ever since been a hero of mine,’ she wrote.
In a strange twist of fate, Elsie became friends with George’s daughter Lillian about 30 years ago through horse-riding, not knowing the connection that existed between them. When Elsie sold her a few acres for a house she was invited over for dinner.
‘Lillian had no idea of the connection between me and her father and it was only when I turned up at her house when George was there that it was all revealed. It was fantastic to see George as I had no idea Lillian was related.’
Elsie said she often met George at Lillian’s home down through the years and she said he was modest about all his achievements as a ‘scientist, sportsman, musician and cousin of Michael Collins.’
‘You are and always have been a wonderful human being in every way. All that you gave in your lifetime is being returned to your now by the wonderful staff,’ she wrote.