Derbyshire Farmer Jumps Into Raging Flood Waters To Save Lambs And Sheep

by : Lucy Connolly on : 18 Feb 2020 19:06
Faye Russell Farmer Saves SheepFaye Russell

While hundreds of people were urged to evacuate their homes over the weekend to avoid the worst of Storm Dennis, one brave farmer paid no heed to these warnings when she realised her animals were in danger.

Farmer Faye, from Derbyshire, leapt to the rescue on Sunday, February 16, when a neighbour called to say some sheep and lambs had been caught up in the torrential downpours and were in danger.


Upon assessing the situation, the 26-year-old knew immediately what she had to do; she tied a long rope around her waist, handed it to her neighbour, and jumped into the freezing cold water without a second thought.

farmer jumps in to save sheepFaye Russell

Faye’s farm in Derbyshire is right on the floodplain, so she spent her Saturday moving her 300-strong flock to higher ground along with her trusty Border Collie Tom.

Thinking this would be enough to keep the water at bay, Faye received a shock when the rain came on suddenly on Sunday morning, despite the sheep having had ‘plenty of high ground’ at 8am. ‘The water came at such a force,’ she told UNILAD.


The farmer continued:

It was really driving rain. The wind and the rain cut me in two. So the sheep took themselves behind the flood-bank and effectively watched the tide come in around them.

Although the flash flood submerged the field under 7ft of water, Faye said there was never any doubt she would try to get them across. ‘You just do it, don’t you,’ she explained. ‘You put your life on the line for your animals, you really do.’

farmer saves sheep and lambsFaye Russell

Faye explained:

I said to somebody ‘duty calls’. [The animals] come first in any farmer’s life. Any farmer will agree they come above yourself and above anything. 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.

The farmer knew immediately she was the one who had to enter the flood water, saying she ‘didn’t fancy filling out the accident book for anybody else’. She continued: ‘If I got in a bit of danger they could pull me out.’

The whole ordeal was difficult because of how ‘choppy’ the waters were, with Faye saying: ‘There were two people on the end of the rope because the current was so strong. It was fierce. I was swimming and had lambs under my arms trying to keep them above water.’

farmer saves sheepFaye Russell

Although it was a difficult task, with Faye’s clothes and wellingtons getting sodden with water, the 26-year-old eventually managed to rescue the animals with the help of her ‘absolutely fantastic’ neighbours and team at the farm, who helped bring the lambs across the water.

The sheep didn’t make it easy though, with the farmer saying:

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.


Thanks to Faye’s quick thinking and heroic actions, all of the sheep and lambs were saved and none were injured during the storm.

What a complete hero!

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Animals, Derbyshire, Farmer, Life