9:00am Monday 6th May 2013
By Mark Taylor
THIS dramatic picture shows a heroic man saving a toddler who had climbed on to the roof of an Oxford hotel.
Preston Likely, 42, shimmied up a drainpipe after the two-year-old climbed a ladder on to the roof at the Tree Hotel, Iffley, at about 5.40pm on Saturday.
The tot’s terrified mother attempted to rescue him but also got stuck.
Mr Likely, held on to the child until firefighters – who praised his “brave” actions – arrived.
An eyewitness described onlookers gasping in horror every time the child moved, before Mr Likely sprang into action.
The Littlemore-based artist and author said: “I was about to sit down when I noticed a large crowd of people staring at something. I thought it was some sort of gathering.
“Then I looked up and saw the child on the roof tottering about.
“I threw my bag down without thinking and just climbed up and grabbed him. It was instinctive, I didn’t think, I just scrambled up.”
Given the risk of falling, the author and artist had to hang on to the youngster for about 15 minutes.
He said: “He was wriggling about, and for a two-year-old was very powerful. It made it all the more precarious and I really had to squeeze to hold on to the little guy.
He said: “You don’t have time to process it while it’s happening, you just have to act and then think about it later.”
Eyewitness and friend Linsey Denholm said: “I was reading when a woman came in and said there was a small boy on the roof and we should call for help.
“People started looking at each other, like ‘what?’ “So we went out and saw and it was pretty scary as he was up there and looked like he was in danger.
“Every time he moved we were gasping with horror as he could have easily fallen off. We started circling the roof so that if he did fall one of us could catch him, and his mother was trying to talk to him to calm him and say that the fire brigade were on their way.
“Preston arrived and shimmied right up there and grabbed the boy.
“It was quite scary at the time because you think ‘this could go horribly wrong’, but thankfully the boy ended up safe.
“We’re all very proud of Preston.”
Namit Julka, manager at the hotel, in Church Way, said the ladder was kept at the back of the hotel so it was away from the public.
He said: “I was behind the bar when the mother came in saying that the child had gone up.
“I went outside to help, came back in and phoned the fire brigade straight away. We are very glad it ended safely.”
Fire crews used a hydraulic platform to bring Mr Likely, the child and the grateful mother down.
Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said that after the child climbed ladder, he walked across a flat roof and on to the ridge.
A spokesman said: “The brave actions of the member of the public made sure that the child was safe and the fire service could bring everyone down to the ground.”
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group