TWO young boys and their mother were rescued by a former lifeguard after they got into serious difficulties at Trebarwith Strand in near-darkness on Tuesday night.
A woman ran into the Port William pub on the cliffs overlooking the beach just after 9pm shouting for help and saying children were drifting out to sea in heavy waves.
Assistant manager Ashley Sharp, 24, a former lifeguard at Camelford Leisure Centre, sprinted down the pathway to the beach and at first, because he could not see them, assumed they'd got out.
"Then I saw something quite far out in the bigger waves, so I did a Baywatch-type strip – took off my shoes and top and removed things from my pocket – and went into the water in my work trousers," he said.
"When I got out there I found two boys, about 9 and 12, and their mother. They were panicking, but I told them to lie still on their backs and hold their bodyboards above them. That calmed them down and then I started swimming back pulling them behind me," said Mr Sharp.
Halfway back he was joined by William Titcombe, a barman at the Port William.
"It was getting dark – almost pitch-black – by the time we got back to the beach, but there seemed to be hundreds of people watching from the cliffs on the pub side and also on the beach," said Mr Sharp.
"When we got out the family thanked me and gave me a hug, but I don't know who they were."
A rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose and the Port Isaac inshore lifeboat had been sent to the scene but were not needed, and the Boscastle cliff rescue team also arrived on the beach.
A land ambulance took the casualties, suffering from the cold, to hospital at Truro, but they were not detained. They were thought to be holidaymakers from Kent.