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Delta throwback: Kids to the rescue

Open ditches were a big safety concern
Pictured from left: Billy Hayes Michael Hodgson and John Remple

Let’s take a trip back to the March 1974 pages of the Optimist when a story ran about two heroes rescuing a cyclist from a dangerous open ditch.

There was nothing unusual about seven-year-old Michael Hodgson, a Maple Crescent resident, hitting a bump on the road and being thrown off his bicycle, but the minor mishap almost turned to tragedy.

Michael was riding his bike home from Delta Manor School on March 20 with friends Billy Hayes and John Remple when he struck a bump on 57th Street.

The impact sent the youngster over the handlebars and head-first into a water-filled ditch.

“His bicycle on top of him, Michael likely would have drowned if it had not been for the efforts of his two companions,” the article explained. “Together they managed to pull the bicycle off the fallen boy, and get his head above water.”

Delta Ald. Lorne Carmichael, who arrived on the scene moments after the rescue, praised the two youths for preventing what could have been “a very serious incident.”

At the same time, the Delta council member urged property owners in the municipality to get together and undertake the local improvements to replace open ditches with curbs and gutters.

Carmichael told the Optimist there were many areas in Delta which were not up to the standards of the municipality, and urged property owners to enter cost-sharing agreements with council to correct the situation.

Michael’s mother, Irena Bayne, shared the alderman’s sentiment, calling the roadside ditches “a disgrace to humanity.”