Dad of seven who drowned saving his kids is named

Victoria Bell
·3-min read
Jonathan Stevens was with his children at Barmouth beach in North Wales when they began to struggle in the water at lunchtime on Sunday. (Wales News)
Jonathan Stevens with his partner Laura Burford and four of his children. (Wales News)

A “hero” father of seven who died helping to save three of his children from drowning on Barmouth Beach in Gwynedd, north Wales, on Sunday has been named.

Jonathan Stevens, 36, from Telford, Shropshire, was at the popular spot with three of his children when the youngsters began to struggle in the water after being caught in a riptide at lunchtime on Sunday.

He tried to pull the children, aged between 10 and 12, to safety but succumbed to the strong rip current himself.

A major rescue operation was launched, with a lifeboat and Coastguard rescue helicopter dispatched, and he was pulled from the water.

Stevens was given medical care at the scene before being airlifted to Ysbyty Gwynedd hospital, where he died.

The children were said to be suffering from suspected hypothermia and were given medical care.

On Monday his heartbroken partner Laura Burford said Stevens had “died a hero, saving their babies".

In a statement to North Wales Live provided by a relative, Burford, 34, who was at home in Telford when the tragedy happened, said: "I am absolutely devastated to say that I have lost the complete love of my life.

Search and Rescue mission: Stevens, 36, tried to pull his children - who had been caught in the rip tide - to safety.
Search and Rescue mission: Stevens, 36, tried to pull his children - who had been caught in the rip tide - to safety.

"All seven of his beautiful kids have lost their dad. He died saving his kids' lives in the sea.

"There are no words to describe the pain. I will always be grateful to (him) for bringing our babies back.

"I love him, always have, and always will."

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Burford and the children by friend Mel Plowman and had raised more than £2,700 by Monday afternoon.

Plowman described Stevens as a "true hero" and said she hoped to raise money to support his loved ones.

A Coastguard search and rescue helicopter dispatched and Stevens was airlifted to hospital but died in Ysbyty Gwynedd. (Wales News)
A Coastguard search and rescue helicopter dispatched and Stevens was airlifted to hospital but died in Ysbyty Gwynedd. (Wales News)

A spokesman for North Wales Police said: "Police and the Coastguard were called at 1.58pm on Sunday to a report that a man had got into difficulty in the sea in Barmouth.

"The man was taken by air ambulance to Ysbyty Gwynedd, where he tragically died."

A Coastguard spokesman said: "At 1.31pm HM Coastguard received a 999 call reporting people in the water off Barmouth and sent Barmouth coastguard rescue team, Barmouth RNLI lifeboat, and HM Coastguard's fixed wing aircraft.

Tragedy: Barmouth beach in North Wales. (Wales News)
Tragedy: Barmouth beach in North Wales. (Wales News)

"Barmouth harbour master and the Coastguard rescue helicopter and helimed also attended. A male casualty was recovered from the water and transferred to Ysbyty Gwynedd in a serious condition."

A spokeswoman for the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 1.39pm to reports of persons caught in a rip tide at Barmouth beach.

"We sent two rapid response cars and two emergency ambulances to the scene where crews were also supported by a Wales Air Ambulance and a search and rescue helicopter.

"Three patients were taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd.”