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Post scoops the nationals on Prescott river rescue report

A routine picture story showing John Prescott on holiday in north Wales led to the Daily Post scooping the nationals with an exclusive on how the deputy prime minister saved a concussed canoeist who had fallen into a river.

The paper had originally planned a picture spread showing Mr Prescott white water rafting using photographs taken by its snapper Gerallt Radcliffe.

But when deputy editor Mark Brittain spoke to Mr Prescott, he uncovered a new angle to the story, which led to the Daily Post receiving calls from several national newspapers and broadcasters.

Mark told Holdthefrontpage: “We rang the office of the deputy prime minister and asked for some words to go with the pictures and at that stage we didn’t know about the story.

“We wanted to chat about Mr Prescott being up here while he was in charge in Tony Blair’s absence and ask him if he thought it risky to take on [white water rafting].

“I was telling him about our pictures, assuring him we were not out to hang him out to dry and said we wanted to do a positive story about him promoting tourism in north Wales.

“He told me he was standing on the bank of the river with his special branch protection officer when he saw a kayaker go over and the raft landed on top him.”

Mr Prescott and his bodyguard then helped pull the canoeist to shore where first aiders took over.

Mark said: “We were talking off the record but I said to him that it was an amazing story. I asked if he was happy if I put him on to a reporter and he said ‘I suppose so’.”

Mr Prescott spoke to Daily Post reporter David Powell who covered the story which has prompted The Sun, the Daily Mail and ITV news to contact the paper.

Mark said he didn’t think Mr Prescott had mentioned the incident in an attempt to receive positive coverage in the media.

He said: “I spoke to him and he was quite cautious as he doesn’t enjoy the best of the press and journalists are often not his cup of tea.

“Mr Prescott is not Victoria Beckham in any way, shape or form. I don’t think he’s that practiced at manipulating the media.”

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