IT was an incident that shocked the town, and indeed the nation.

Warrington was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons this week after a pensioner was kicked into the Mersey last Sunday, April 25.

The 74-year-old was enjoying the sunny afternoon by magnet fishing on the banks of the river close to Riverside Retail Park, opposite a small patch of land which is cut off by a lock and known as Monkey Island.

He likely did not have a care in the world until a stranger delivered a sickening and cowardly fly-kick to his back.

This assault, filmed by one of the assailant’s friends on his mobile phone, sent him flying into the water.

Warrington Guardian:

The teens ran off laughing after the elderly victim banged his head as he fell, leaving him with a cut to his face.

But the town’s response to this truly shameful incident has been nothing short of heart-warming.

And the kind-hearted nature of our community shone through almost immediately through the actions of two teenage girls who happened to be passing by.

These Good Samaritans formed a human chain in order to pull the injured man from the Mersey, and may well have saved his life.

This selfless pair were Ellie Hughes and Khloe Woods, both aged 14.

Warrington Guardian:

Ellie’s dad Ste Hughes said: “They didn’t actually see him when they walked past, it was only when he shouted that they turned around and saw him in the water.

“Khloe got hold of the chap’s hand, and our Ellie got hold of Khloe’s hand.

“He was well up to his waist and hanging onto a branch about 10 metres away from the drop in the weir.

“It’s quite fast flowing, so if he’d have let go he’d have been gone and I don’t know if he’d have survived.

Warrington Guardian:

The moments before the attack

“Some adults wouldn’t be that quick thinking – Ellie does think quick on her feet, she’s practical and she’s got a lot of common sense and Khloe is very level-headed as well.

“I’m dead proud of her – we’re bursting with pride.

“It goes to show that there are good teenagers out there as well.

“I’ve always brought my kids up to be respectful, and if we all sang from the same hymn sheet then the world would be a better place.

“You can’t control your kids when they’re out on their own, so you just hope that they’re reflecting well on how you’ve brought them up.

“Ellie has done exactly that.”

As well as suffering the physical and emotional effects of the attack, the victim also lost a sentimental silver dollar pendant attached to his keys – a keepsake from his dad, who he never knew.

Several well-wishers have been out along the Mersey in recent days in attempts to find this memento.

And the Warrington Guardian is happy to reveal that this has since been found by one such searcher, who did not wish to be named.

Warrington Guardian:

The pendant was retrieved using a magnet on Friday lunchtime near to the spot where the man was assaulted.

His daughter Jacinta Bradbury, a high school teacher, said: “Losing the pendant really rubbed salt into the wound.

“It was really sad, but getting it back will mean the world to him.

“My dad didn’t really know the full story at the time, he was a bit shaken and he didn’t even realise he’d been pushed in.

“The whole story came together over the course of about 24 hours, it was mind boggling.

“When I realised he’d been pushed in I was mortified, it’s horrible.

“I’ve never met any kids that would ever do anything like this, so I was really happy when I saw it was two 14-year-old girls who had pulled him out.

“There are some amazing young people out there.”

Meanwhile, generous residents have already donated hundreds of pounds to an online fundraising page which has been set up with the aim of sending the pensioner on a fishing trip in order to lift his spirits.

Fishing magnet supplier Magnet Store are also arrange a donation of ‘top of the range’ goods after hearing about his story.

Ms Bradbury added: “Everything has been a bit of a whirlwind.

“He’s a bit overwhelmed at the moment.

“He cried when he heard about the support that’s been coming in, he needs to get his head around it really.

“When he does, he will be over the moon.”

She is planning to meet with the girls and their families today in order to treat them to coffee and cakes as a thank you gesture.

To donate to the fundraiser, click here.

Two teenagers have been charged with assault in connection with the incident.

Eighteen-year-old Benjamin Bridgeman, of Quebec Road in Orford, and a 15-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons will appear before Warrington Magistrates Court later this month in order to face these charges.

They have been released on bail until that date.