Donors have pledged thousands to support the heartbroken family of a 'hero' dad who died jumping into a river to save his struggling stepdaughter.

The man, named locally as Reza, could not swim but selflessly dived into the River Erme in Ivybridge, Devon, anyway in a bid to save the 19-month-old on Tuesday evening , it is claimed.

Emergency services were called to reports of a man who was in difficulty after trying to rescue a child struggling in the water.

Reza was later found and pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics

Nearly £8,000 has been donated across two fundraising pages set up to help his family return his body to loved ones in his home country, and to support his grieving partner, daughter and stepdaughters.

Reza and partner Kaylie McGrath, whose daughter he had been trying to save, according to pals
Reza and partner Kaylie McGrath, whose daughter he had been trying to save, according to pals

One of the fundraising pages, launched by Daisy Cooper, says: "On Tuesday, 15th June 2021, Reza's stepdaughter got into some difficulty in the River Erme, located in Long Timber Woods, Ivybridge.

"Being the hero Reza was, he jumped in and saved her, but unfortunately was unable to save himself as he was a non-swimmer.

"This goes to show how selfless Reza was, and he showed this every day. He leaves behind his girlfriend and 19 month old little girl, as well as lots of friends and colleagues who all saw him as family.

"We are trying to raise funds so Reza can be flown to his home country, to be laid to rest in peace with the presence of the rest of his family.

"We are also wanting to hold a memorial service for Reza here in Ivybridge so all who knew him can show their love and respect for him.

"Any donations will be greatly appreciated. Anything extra will go towards helping his girlfriend and their little girl."

Another fundraiser, by a friend of Reza's partner, said: I am setting up this GoFund me on behalf of my friend Kaylie McGrath who tragically lost her soulmate Reza yesterday when he heroically jumped into the river to save his step-daughter Khloe who is my daughter Eva's school friend.

"Kaylie has lost a wonderful man who cherished her, who loved her daughters and the precious daughter they shared together.

River Erme GV
The dad leapt into the River Erme to save the child but lost his own life

"Reza was a kind person who always put his partner and 3 beautiful daughters first and deserves a send off that reflects this and his immensely heroic act."

Life as a single mother is "tough", the friend's post continued.

"This immensely strong and brave lady now needs all the support we can give her.

"I am hoping that, as a community, we can come together to help a family in need by removing the financial pressure they have been put under and by supporting them in any way possible.

"Any donation big or small will help."

Devon and Cornwall Police said earlier this week: “It was reported that he went into the water to help a child in difficulty.

Emergency services attended. Sadly a man was declared deceased at the scene. His next-of-kin are aware.

"His death is not being treated as suspicious and a file is being prepared for the coroner.”

You can donate to the fundraisers by clicking here or here.