A lifesaver's fiancee has paid tribute to him saying he died a hero.

Leigh Pitt drowned after jumping into a canal in a bid to save a nine-year-old boy who had fallen in.

Firefighters and police were called to the canal in Whinchat Road, Thamesmead, at 5.20pm on June 7 after reports of a man and child being in the water.

Mr Pitt's partner, who asked not to be named, said he jumped into the water after hearing shouts for help while in his flat which overlooks the canal.

She said: "He was holding the little boy up while I was trying to get the police.

"All I know is that he died a hero and he went in to try and save a child's life, it was the kind of selfless thing he would do."

The woman, who was due to marry the City worker in the autumn, says he always put others before himself and was well liked.

She added: "He used to go fishing at the lake and was always helping out the kids with their fishing.

"He has got three nieces and he loved them to bits.

"He always got on with kids and could get on with anyone.

"We had been together for five years and every day was a happy memory with Leigh."

London Ambulance Service pulled Mr Pitt from the water but he was pronounced dead at Lewisham Hospital at 6.42pm that day.

The boy, Harley Bagnall-Taylor, of Whinchat Road, was taken to hospital, believed to be suffering from hypothermia.

He has since been released.

Darryl McGowan, 29, was on his balcony with his cousin, Sean Forbes, 27, when he heard a loud scream and saw a woman shouting her boyfriend was in the water.

The delivery driver who lives in Erebus Drive, Thamesmead, overlooking the canal, believes the man died trying to save the boy.

He said: "At first we thought the woman was messing about but then we saw the guy in the water shouting. We ran down to where they were.

"The guy jumped down trying to save a kid but couldn't get out.

"I feel horrible, I wish I could've done more."

Mr McGowan says PC Ken Chow, 28, was already in the water by the time he got there as he dived in to try and reach the drowning man but was unable to bring him to shore.

PC Chow, of the Thamesmead Moorings Safer Neighbourhood Team, was later picked up by a fire brigade dinghy and also taken to hospital for observation.

He was back on duty last Friday.

A family has also told of their heroic efforts to rescue the young boy, Harley Bagnall-Taylor.

Daniel Mahoney, who lives in Whinchat Road, heard shouts for help from Broadwater Dock.

He looked out his window and saw somebody in the water.

The 21-year-old ran downstairs and told his parents, Terena and Brian, what he had seen.

Mr Mahoney shouted to his son to fetch a hosepipe for the pair in the water to grab hold of.

A neighbour, Marie Hills, lent them a hosepipe but it was not long enough to reach them.

Her son, Martin Hills, then jumped in the water and helped keep the boy afloat.

Mr Mahoney, 41, also jumped in to look after the boy.

Fire crews then arrived at the scene and threw a rope into the water, which Mr Mahoney tied around the boy, and pulled him out.

Mrs Mahoney, 43, said: "I am proud of my son and my husband, all of them in fact.

"They are heroes.

"If Daniel had not heard it or if he had ignored it there might have been two bodies today."

A spokesman from Plumstead Fire Station says the canal is very deep at the point of the rescue attempt and the walls are very high.

Greenwich police say there is nothing to suggest any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

A post mortem is due to take place tomorrow at Greenwich Mortuary.