AN EXHAUSTED calf was saved from drowning in the River Great Ouse by a team of ramblers.

The young animal had become separated from its herd, grazing in a Houghton meadow, before falling in the river. These pictures, sent in by walker Keith Miller, show how it was rescued and reunited with its mother.

The walkers, including Card Gallery owner John Nunn, spotted the calf and sprung into action on Sunday last week (November 20).

Mr Miller, 55, of Church Street, Sawtry, told The Hunts Post: "A group of four of us go walking every other Sunday morning.

"We were walking along the Ouse Valley Way at the meadows between Houghton and Hemingford Abbots. We came across a bull and a cow standing on the bank, which we thought was a bit strange. They were watching a calf that had got itself stuck in the reeds. It was totally exhausted.

"We saw a bridge so we went across to see if we could pull the calf out of the river. One of the lads took his trousers off and got in the river to get underneath it. He pushed it up for the rest of us to pull out. It was absolutely freezing cold. It wouldn't have lasted another couple of hours. It was totally exhausted and stuck.

"John, who you can see in the photo, got it up onto the bank. It stood there shaking with cold and then collapsed on the ground."

He added: "It got up and run off and we chased after it. We herded it back onto the bridge and over the river. It started bleating and out of the fog came running its mother. It was quite something. It was such a thrill to see them reunited. The calf started feeding and the little thing seemed to come back to life."

He added modestly: "It was our good deed for the morning."

Mr Miller, who works for Luminus, and Mr Nunn were joined on their walk from Godmanchester by Ian Mack and Dave Ashworth. He explained that they considered calling the RSPCA but thought the calf wouldn't survive that long and decided to act themselves.

They cut their usual nine-mile route short and had a "celebratory drink" at The Cock in Hemingford Grey.

"I've helped rescue people off mountain tops but this was as good as anything we have ever done," he said.