Moment farmer jumps into flood waters to save lambs and sheep in Storm Dennis
This is the dramatic moment a farmer risks her life to save a flock of sheep stranded in a flooded field.
Faye Russell sprang into action when a neighbour called to say some sheep and lambs were at risk during the torrential downpours on Sunday.
The 26-year-old farmer put a long rope around her waist, handed it to the neighbour, and jumped into the freezing water.
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘I said I’m going to have to go first. I didn’t fancy filling out the accident book for anybody else.
‘If I got in a bit of danger they could pull me out. There were two people on the end of the rope because the current was so strong. It was fierce.’
‘It got quite choppy,’ she added. ‘I was swimming and had lambs under my arms trying to keep them above water.
‘I had clothes and wellingtons on and they were full of water.’
Faye said her farm in Derbyshire is on the floodplain so spent her Saturday, along with Border Collie Tom, moving her 300-strong flock to higher ground.
But she didn’t expect the water to come so quickly on Sunday morning.
She said: ‘The water came at such a force. At 8am we were fine. The sheep had plenty of high ground.
‘But it was really driving rain. The wind and the rain cut me in two.
‘So the sheep took themselves behind the floodbank and effectively watched the tide come in around them.’
Faye said the flash flood submerged the field with 7ft of water, but there was never any doubt she would try to get them across.
She said: ‘You just do it, don’t you. I said to somebody “duty calls”. You put your life on the line for your animals, you really do.
‘They come first in any farmer’s life. Any farmer will agree they come above yourself and above anything.’
She added: ‘The thing is, they are what we live for. I’ve spent nights up with them, delivering them.
‘We’ve just been through a busy lambing period. You spend your whole life with them, and some of them are pets.
‘We know them by name. One of them is actually called Pebbles but she was like a big hippopotamus as she swam beside me.
Farmer saves lambs from drowning in floods during Storm Dennis
‘They will follow their lambs but you have to give them the confidence to get going.
‘Sheep aren’t very good in water but they were pleased to see me when I got across to them.’
Faye paid tribute to her ‘absolutely fantastic’ neighbours and team at the farm, who helped bring the lambs over in twos across the water.
All of the sheep and lambs were saved thanks Faye’s quick-thinking.
Elsewhere, Storm Dennis battered the UK, leaving towns under water and roads cut off.
But there is still more to come, with severe flood warnings still in place and more rain expected to fall later this week.
The Environment Agency (EA) said downpours have swelled rivers to ‘exceptional’ levels in parts of Britain.
Communities across the country are counting the cost of the weekend’s storm, which left hundreds of properties flooded.
Among the worst affected areas were South Wales, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire where major incidents were declared.
A woman who was swept away by floodwater near Tenbury in Worcestershire on Sunday was found dead on Monday.
The Prime Minister resisted calls to chair a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee, Cobra, to tackle the flooding crisis, despite criticism from the Labour Party.
Luke Pollard, shadow environment secretary, said it was a ‘disgrace’ that Boris Johnson had ‘refused’ to visit affected communities.
West Mercia Police said residents in Upton upon Severn and Uckinghall, in Worcestershire, were advised to evacuate, with water levels expected to peak on Monday evening.
Emergency evacuations were carried out in Hereford, where the River Wye reached its highest level on record.
And homes in Monmouth were evacuated after Natural Resources Wales issued two severe ‘danger to life’ flood warnings for the River Wye in the town, with the water level expected to peak between 3am and 7am on Tuesday.
On Monday night, seven severe flood warnings from the EA were in place in England for the River Trent at Burton upon Trent; the River Wye at Blackmarstone in Hereford, and at Hampton Bishop; the River Severn at Uckinghall and at New Street and Waterside in Upton upon Severn; and the River Lugg at Hampton Bishop.
Around 1,000 staff were on duty, with 5km of flood barriers deployed and 90 pumps in action, the EA said.
It warned the flood risk continues, with further heavy rain forecast in the north of England for Wednesday and Thursday, possibly falling on already flooded areas.