Plaudits for rescuer who wades into lake to save gull
AWOMAN has been praised for wading into a Cheltenham lake up to her chest so she could rescue an animal.
The incident in Hatherley Park in Up Hatherley was witnessed by resident Keith Barnfield.
He was so moved by what he saw that he posted an account on the social media website Nextdoor.
He said: “I am in awe of a lady named Susan, who regularly walks her dog called Pie in Hatherley Park.
“When I arrived in the park this morning I saw a group of people on the bank of the lake, and Susan was standing in the middle of the lake, up to her chest in very cold water.
“I soon realised that she was holding an upside down bird in her hands, and trying to reach the bank without falling or dropping it.
“She had rescued the young gull, after seeing it hanging upside down from a tree on the island, totally tangled with fishing line.
“She reached the bank and was helped by the onlookers to climb out of the water, and then proceeded to care
fully cut the line from the bird’s body and wings.
“Miraculously the bird seemed to be relatively uninjured, and when released it swam out into the lake, but was probably in too much shock to fly away.”
Mr Barnfield said if Susan had left the bird until a boat could be found by the RSPCA or Vale Wildlife’s animal rescue team, the fine line would have deeply cut into the bird’s flesh and probably resulted in its painful death.
He added that Susan left the park with her dog.
He said: “She was soaking wet, very cold, very dirty, and late for her scheduled start at work.” Other members of the public also praised the woman involved in the rescue.
Siobhan Teece said: “What an amazing story. What a great lady! Putting the bird first. Amazing!”
And Adrian Phillips said: “Thank you so much! So glad that gulls can be given the same care and help as any other bird would be, in spite of the ‘war on gulls’ so many in Cheltenham want to fight.
“Also rather ironic that sea birds face the same problems with fishing lines and nets far inland as they do at sea.”
Pictures: Eloisa Wildsmith
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