Wednesday 6 March 2013

Officers from the RSPCA’s North of England water rescue team will attend the BBC Radio York Flood Hero Awards later this month, in which they have been nominated.


The ceremony is due to take place at the Guildhall in York on Tuesday 26 March, when the winners will be announced.


They have been nominated by the owners of two donkeys – four year old ‘Noah’ and 15 year old ‘David Crockett’ – after they were rescued during last year’s floods.


The team, led by RSPCA chief inspector Mark Gent, has been put forward in the ‘Most Helpful Individual or Team’ category.


Chief inspector Gent said: “We’re very excited about the event and it would be lovely to win but we are just thrilled to have been nominated really.


“It’s really nice that the owners of the donkeys felt they wanted to put us forward for something like this.


“The job we do is very challenging, so to receive public recognition is very nice.”


Nominated as part of the team are chief inspector Mark Gent; deputy chief inspector Ben Strangwood; inspector Jonathan Brooks; animal welfare officer Andy Kench; animal welfare officer Derek Hampson; chief inspector Rob Melloy as communications operator and local inspector Rachel Oprysk.


The donkeys were rescued from a field in the village of Cattal, York on Tuesday 25 September last year, one of a number of rescues the RSPCA team carried out that week.


Chief inspector Gent explained: “We had to wade out quite a way to get to the donkeys and though they were happy to be led in the more shallow water it became trickier when the field dipped and water levels rose.


“They were very pleased to be back on relatively dry land – and even more so when they got back to their warm, hay-filled stable.”


The RSPCA will have 100 specialist water rescue trained officers by the end of the year, and is investing in the North of England in particular where the team will increase from ten to 22. Each team member costs the RSPCA around £10,000 to train, equip and refresh for three years.


To help support the work of the RSPCA water rescue team, including rescues like this, please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).