Norfolk couple trying to trace men who saved their labrador dog from drowning at Denver Sluice, near Downham Market

Two disabled dog owners were last night trying to trace the men who saved their much-loved pet from drowning at a riverside beauty spot.

Two disabled dog owners were last night trying to trace the men who saved their much-loved pet from drowning at a riverside beauty spot.

Pensioners Ray and Sue Cole, from Holme Hale, near Swaffham, were beside the River Ouse at Denver Sluice, near Downham Market, when their 12-year-old labrador Charlie plunged into the water.

Mr and Mrs Cole believe Charlie twisted his back in the fall, on Sunday afternoon, as his back legs appeared to freeze.

'We are both disabled and were unable to get to him,' said Mrs Cole, 64, a retired village postmistress.


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'My husband lost his stick and cut his legs trying to get to him. When we thought it was all over and just the dog's eyes and nose were above the water, two young people dived in and saved him.

'One supported his back half, the other put their arm around his neck and swam him to the slipway.

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'They even lifted him into the car because his back legs weren't working.'

Both the couple have severe back problems and walk with the aid of a stick.

Retired lorry driver Mr Cole, 58, said: 'We've had him since he was six months old. He was on the edge and he just went in. I just couldn't physically get to him.'

Mr Cole said the young men who rescued Charlie were in a group of four or five young people who arrived at the riverside car park in a green Land Rover, before going sunbathing on the riverbank.

Once Charlie was safe, the couple thanked the men before they rushed Charlie home to get dried out.

Last night, they said they would like to trace the two young men. 'We said thank you, but a simple thank you's not enough for what they did for us,' said Mrs Cole. 'They put their lives at risk, he's an eight stone dog.'

Officials earlier warned young people against diving into rivers as temperatures soared over the weekend.

A man drowned after jumping into the Thames in Oxford, while another died in Scotland after getting into difficulty in a waterfall.

Do you know the men who saved Charlie's life..? E-mail chris.bishop@archant.co.uk.

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