A farmer has described the dramatic moment she jumped into floodwater to save her sheep from drowning.
Faye Russell risked her life to rescue sheep that were stranded after torrential rain submerged their field on Sunday (16 February).
The Derbyshire farmer was alerted to the danger by a neighbour and leapt into action.
With support from quick-thinking neighbours and farmworkers, the 26-year-old tied a rope round her waist and jumped into the freezing water to begin the rescue operation.
Watch Faye’s dramatic rescue video:
She said: “Not for a second was I going to let them get swept away. The current was quite strong and it must have caught them by surprise.
“I was in the water for about half an hour. It was awful – cold and fierce. I can see how easy it is to get into difficulty.”
The farmer praised her neighbours and farmworkers, who formed a line to ferry fifteen ewes and a dozen lambs to safety. Two people were needed to anchor the rope on the bank due to the strong current.
She added: “They were absolutely sterling. We have a strong rural community where I am and we look out for each other.”
Taken by surprise
The speed at which the sheep had been put in danger by the fast-moving water had taken Ms Russell by surprise. “They were absolutely fine at 8am on Sunday morning. I stood there in amazement when I first saw what was happening,” she said.
The water was so deep in parts the farmer was forced to swim with the sheep to safety. The animals are now all safe and dry.
“By teatime, it was like nothing had happened. All of us were trying to warm up once the adrenaline had worn off.
“My wellies are still at my mum’s, drying. There was gallons of water in them.”
Farmers have been left counting the costs after hurricane-force winds and flooding hammered the country, first from Storm Ciara, and then Storm Dennis.
As of 19 February, there were 122 flood warnings still in place, including six classed as severe, which means there is a danger to life.