A WOMAN who risked her life to save a dog after it got into difficulty in a reservoir has been given a national award.

Julie Vickers, who works at the RSPCA’s East Lancashire branch in Altham, won the RSPCA Silver Award for saving the animal’s life.

As reported in the Lancashire Telegraph in July, Joanne Dunleavy Nelson, of Edgworth, was walking her dogs around Entwistle Reservoir with her children when rescue dog Foxi jumped into the water and got into difficulty.

Julie was walking her dog in the area and, when she saw what was happening, dived in, swam out and saved the drowning pet.

Humble Julie said at the time she couldn’t just stand there and let the dog drown and had not considered the possibility she could have put herself at risk. And after receiving the medal, she said she was very proud.

She said: “I was quite shocked as I didn’t know it was on the cards. “I was delighted to receive the medal, though, and I am told they don’t give many of them out.”

Mrs Dunleavy said she had tracked Julie down after the incident and put her forward for the award.

She said: “It is really great because she thoroughly deserves it. What she did is what we are all told not to do. “She had no thought for herself she just jumped in.

“I spoke to her mum for the first time at the award-giving and she said Julie had told her she couldn’t allow the children to stand and watch their dog die.

“That is what was happening. Foxi was going under. She was exhausted. It was very selfless from Julie.”

RSPCA East Lancashire branch manager Ken Harrison said: “We are really proud as a branch. “Now it has got a national award it makes it even more important for everyone here.

“Julie was very brave. However we would not recommend this sort of action by other people.”