Dog walker was minutes from death before dramatic rescue from Ickwell muck heap

A dog walker is lucky to be alive after a dramatic rescue from a manure heap in an Ickwell field on Sunday afternoon.

Brian Marshall had gone to rescue his pet dog from the heap, when he found himself sinking fast.

“I’d given up trying to get out on my own,” said Mr Marshall. “I felt like I was digging my own grave.”

Trapped by the sludge, Mr Marshall, aged 75, started shouting for help and attracted the attention of a fellow dog walker, Matt Hollick.

“He masterminded it all. He called the emergency services and as I was sinking fast he told me to keep my arms up. The more I moved the worse it became.

“I was gradually giving up and didn’t think I was going to make it.”

Crews from Sandy and Kempston Community Fire Stations, along with HART Ambulance service, worked to rescue Mr Marshall, from The Green, Ickwell, who by this time had been stuck up to his neck for nearly an hour.

They used inflatable hose, inflatable rescue paths and dry suits to pull him out of the pit, in a field on the Ickwell Road towards Upper Caldecote, and he was transported to Bedford hospital to be treated for hypothermia.

“The fire crews were absolutely awesome,” said Mr Marshall. “They went into the muck themselves to put a hoist round me.”

“I and our two dogs Bella and Archie are so fortunate to all be alive and well. The Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service, the Ambulance crew, Bedford Hospital A and E, the Police and so many others who were involved. Thank you one and all and for those who have phoned and sent messages. It is quite overwhelming.

“I feel like standing on the hill at Windy Ridge waving a Union Jack and saying Blessed are you all for ever and ever.”

“Using the Duke of Edinburgh’s words, “I had been a bloody fool, and there was no-one but me to blame”. However to see the death by drowning of your loyal and trusted pet dog in front of your very eyes was not an option for me.

“Thank you all so very much. Humanity can be very cruel at times but on this occasion nothing but kindness can be described. My long suffering wife Christine, is busy manuring the garden as she sorts out all my clothes.”

A neighbouring farmer, Simon Maudlin, who had been called by the residents of nearby houses after hearing the cries, said: “Brian Marshall was a very lucky man, the wind carried his voice across a large open field towards Elizabeth Smiths Vets and the residential property. No wonder the area is called Windy ridge and it carried his voice of distress towards the buildings.”

The vets surgery also gave dogs Archie and Bella a clean ill of health.

Advice from the fire service is that if you do happen to find yourself in a position where a pet or other animal is caught in water, mud or in this case a muck heap - please call 999 immediately for advice rather than putting yourself in a situation where you can’t help emergency crews to locate the incident or more seriously put yourself into a place of danger.