A JOINER'S romantic trip to the Lake District saw him jumping into the water to save a man’s life.

Stuart Newbould had only been in Windermere with fiancee Vicki Jeffels for an hour when she saw a man leap off a jetty and into the water.

It soon became obvious the man was not resurfacing so strong swimmer Stuart, of Thornaby, near Stockton-on-Tees, jumped in - little knowing the man’s backpack was full of rocks.

After a frantic struggle, brave Stuart managed to get the man to the lake side where he was hauled out and a member of the public successfully performed CPR.

The man was then taken to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary by ambulance, leaving an exhausted Stuart, 38, to dry out and reflect on his life-saving actions.

“Vicki said she’d seen a man jump into the water with all his bags," he said. “I could see ripples in the water. Then I saw this man, sinking.

“At first I thought: ‘Is this a joke?’ I didn’t know what to do.

“I said to this other bloke we had to do something so he threw a ring in, but it landed nowhere near him and he was already going down.

“That’s when I knew I had to jump in.”

Once in the water, Stuart quickly realised he had taken on quite a task.

“I couldn’t see him so I had to swim down and get him.

“I grabbed him but I couldn’t believe how heavy he was. But his backpack was full of rocks - I could feel them when I grabbed hold of him in the water.

"He was a massive bloke too, at least 20 stones.”

“I pulled him to the surface and his eyes were wide open - he looked totally gone.

“I had hold of him by the scruff of the neck, trying to keep his head out of the water.”

On reaching the jetty, Stuart clung on to a slippy moss-covered pole while trying to work out how to get him onto the lake bank.

He said: “I was screaming:‘Someone help’ but people were just videoing it.

“A bloke jumped in to help and he started saying ‘he’s gone, he’s gone’. I said ‘he isn’t’.

“I was only in the water five minutes but it felt like forever.

“I was sinking down with him. I was fighting for my life as well as his.

“On the bank, someone shouted: ‘Can anyone do CPR?’ Then a member of the public started doing it and after a few minutes, the bloke started groaning. They brought him back to life, basically.

“There was a helicopter, police, fire engines, ambulance - it was mad.

“Then all these people started shouting: ‘He’s a hero’ - I was totally embarrassed.”

Stuart keeps himself fit with daily gym sessions and is a strong swimmer.

He said: “If I hadn’t been a good swimmer, there’s no way I could have got him out of the water. But I was absolutely ruined afterwards.

“I rang the police afterwards and they told me he was alive.

“I couldn’t have left him, though. I couldn’t just stand there and let him go down.

“Everyone has bad times in life. I wasn’t going to let him throw his life away.”

Vicki initially took phone photos but stopped when she realised how serious the situation was.

She said: “He did a good job to jump in - everyone was very proud. If it wasn’t for Stuart and then the man who performed CPR, I really don’t know what the outcome would have been.”

A Cumbria Police spokesman said: “Cumbria Police would like to thank the members of the public who helped rescue the man from the water and give initial CPR prior to the emergency services arriving at the scene.”

Stuart has now been nominated for an "outstanding act of bravery’ award.