Officers from the RSPCA North of England water rescue team have won a BBC Radio York Flood Hero Award, recognising their successful efforts to save two donkeys from a field last September.
The ceremony took place at the Guildhall in York this morning (Tuesday 26 March) when the winners were announced and presented with trophies and certificates.
The team, led by RSPCA chief inspector Mark Gent, won the ‘Harrogate Flood Hero’ award for the most helpful team or individual in the Harrogate Borough Council area. They were also commended in the ‘Team Flood Hero’ category.
They were nominated by the owners of two donkeys – four year old ‘Noah’ and 15 year old ‘David Crockett’ – rescued from a field in Cattal during last year’s floods.
Speaking after the ceremony chief inspector Gent said: “It’s been a really lovely morning and we couldn’t be happier.
“There were some lovely stories of people going above and beyond to help their communities and it was an honour to be recognised amongst them.
“The job we do is very challenging, so it is very nice to receive public thanks like this. Now it’s back to work!”
The team who rescued the donkeys was made up of 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 RSPCA was called about the donkey’s plight on Tuesday 25 September 2012, and it was one of a number of rescues the RSPCA water rescue 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.
“I saw them just a couple of weeks ago and am pleased to report they’re both doing very well.”
The donkeys were also nominated in the ‘Bravest Animal’ category in which they won the silver award.
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).