By Justin Flynn
When Mancell Cornish realised her autistic son had fled the family holiday home in Ocean Grove alone, she feared the worst.
Seven-year-old Harry was determined to go to the beach with or without his mother and only needed a split second to escape from the Stafford Court house.
A frantic Ms Cornish went looking for him and soon after, came across two young boys who had found Harry and stayed with him until she arrived.
Harry, who is nonverbal, was wandering in the middle of the road and the boys calmed him and stayed until help arrived.
Mrs Cornish thanked the boys many times, but now wants to tell them how much she appreciated their caring actions.
“I ran down the street calling his name knowing full well he would never respond due to his autism and I arrived at Field Street North and turned right running toward the beach when I saw two boys about 11 years old outside the primary school fence on bikes,” Ms Cornish said.
“As I drew closer I realised they were gently herding Harry up the street. One boy said they saw Harry run up the road on Field Street North. They rushed to him because they were concerned he may get hit by a car and soon realised he was unable to communicate. They were kind enough to help him onto the footpath and wait with him until I arrived. I was extremely shaken at the time and forgot to ask the boys their names.”
Ms Cornish said Harry was determined to get to the beach no matter what. The Glenroy family often visits their Ocean Grove holiday home and Harry loves the sea.
“He loves the waves and the sand. He bought me his boardshorts and rashie, insisting on putting them on. I helped him into them, but told him he needed to wait until his dad got home before we went to the beach,” Ms Cornish said.
“He was getting very frustrated, dragging me by the hand to the front door. Waiting is something kids with autism often struggle to do.”
Within seconds of Ms Cornish turning her back, Harry was gone, in desperate search of the beach, his life in danger.
Ms Cornish said the two boys were heroes.
“They were real heroes and very likely life savers, too,” she said.
“Harry could’ve easily been hit by a car or become lost. I want their parents, teachers and family to know they did a very good deed and they should be very proud of them.
“I will be forever grateful to these boys. Had they not intercepted Harry, I’d hate to imagine what may have happened.”
If anyone knows of the two boys – aged about 11 – who helped Harry on Saturday 28 October, about noon, they can contact the Voice on 5255 3233.