Monday 25 March 2013

Officers from the RSPCA’s North of England water rescue team will attend the BBC Radio York Flood Hero Awards tomorrow (Tuesday 26 March), in which they have been nominated.


The ceremony is due to take place at the Guildhall in York in the morning when the winners will be announced.


They were nominated by the owners of two donkeys – four year old ‘Noah’ and 15 year old ‘David Crockett’ – after they rescued them 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: “Four of us are going along to the awards and win or lose we’re thrilled just to have been nominated.


“The job we do is very challenging, so to receive public recognition like this 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).