BY C.J. MCGINLEY
OVER 50 years after he saved a man’s life in London, a Letterkenny man’s bravery has been posthumously recognised in his native town.
The late Paddy Loughlin, from Lower Ard O’Donnell, was the key figure in a daring rescue feat that saw him climb through the dark to a height of almost 170ft above a south London street. There he moved out on the beam of a crane on the top of the 17th floor of an unfinished blocks of flats where a young man was caught in the beam of a searchlight switched on from the street below.
According to reports at the time, “unruffled, steadily and nervelessly”, Paddy, spoke to him and calmed the frightened young man. He held the man’s attention while two policemen arrived. However, as the young man’s nerve snapped he began to fall over the edge, but Paddy grabbed him with a policeman and hauled him from certain death.
Police tried in vain after the heroic rescue to reward Paddy but he had little time for fuss and quietly went on about his business. When police went to get Paddy to hand him a reward, he was gone from his Camberwell address.
The award was the first ever granted for Bravery by Letterkenny Town Council on the Mayor’s proposal.
Members of his family including Paddy’s sister Mausheen Elliot were at the Public Services Offices in Letterkenny on Tuesday where the presentation was made by Mayor Dessie Larkin.
Paddy was the son of Mr and Mrs Tony Loughlin of Ard O’Donnell.