PM wades in to save sheep from drowning

RESCUE MISSION: Farmer Julian Tustian next to the stretch of water and boggy ground at Dean where Prime Minister David Cameron and his police bodyguards waded in to rescue Swampy the sheep

Swampy the sheep and her lamb

David Cameron

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

A WEST Oxfordshire sheep found herself the darling of the media yesterday after being rescued by David Cameron.

The Prime Minister and Witney MP discovered the drowning ewe, since named Swampy, after hearing her bleating loudly on his neighbour Julian Tustian’s farm.

Mr Cameron contacted his armed police protection team and, together with two officers, he pulled the sheep out of the boggy ground.

Although the rescue happened on March 1, the news broke yesterday and Mr Tustian, 43, found himself receiving calls from news organisations including The Sun and BBC Radio 5 Live.

He said: “My landline has been going non-stop all day. I’m not answering it any more, because I have got so much else to do.

“I thought it was pretty normal, but most people only see David Cameron as the Prime Minister, so I can see why people are interested.”

The rescue began after Mr Cameron, whose home in Dean, backs on to Mr Tustian’s fields – popped over to see the new lambs.

Mr Tustian said: “He was stood in the pen talking about lambing and then said he would walk home but go around the field for a final check for me.

“He heard the bleating and went to the sound and found the ewe up to its shoulders in the swamp.

“I went down to the field and there was David and two armed police officers waist deep, trying to haul the sheep out.”

He added: “I knew when he called and said the sheep was in the swamp that he would be in there getting it out.

“To me it’s the sort of thing I would expect him to do. I have known him a long time and he’s hands-on.

“But I wouldn’t expect anyone to stand on the bank and watch a sheep drown.

“It was more unusual that the police had helped as well. They were in uniform and got plastered in mud.”

Mr Tustian said that Mr Cameron was a regular visitor to his farm and Mr Cameron’s children often helped to bottle-feed his lambs.

In 2007, Mr Cameron helped to deliver two lambs after discovering Mr Tustian struggling with a distressed ewe which was about to give birth.

Mr Cameron held down the ewe for 15 minutes until the lambs were born Mr Tustian said: “I don’t even think of him as the Prime Minister, to me he’s just David the neighbour. When I see him on TV in Afghanistan, I don’t really think it’s the same person.”

He said the 18-month-old ewe, now named Swampy, is now doing well.

Mr Tustian said sheep had a natural inclination towards getting themselves stuck in risky situations.

He said: “It’s an old shepherd’s saying that sheep always try to kill themselves.

“The moment sheep are born, they try every which way they can to kill themselves and it’s a shepherd’s job to try to stop that.

“If a tree is going to fall down, you can guarantee sheep will stand there waiting for it to fall on them.”

Mr Tustian has run the farm, which has 50 ewes and also takes in orphaned sheep from neighbouring farms, for the past eight years.

Comments (6)

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11:40am Tue 2 Apr 13

nanny rabbits says...

What a pity Mr Cameron cannot show the same empathy to the the thousands of British people currently drowning in the swamp of poverty that he and his government have created.
What a pity Mr Cameron cannot show the same empathy to the the thousands of British people currently drowning in the swamp of poverty that he and his government have created. nanny rabbits
  • Score: 3

11:55am Tue 2 Apr 13

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

Using taxpayer funded police protection to rescue a sheep is surely misappropriation of public funds, something Cameron claims to be against.

Personally, I would have saved the sheep and thrown Cameron back in.
Using taxpayer funded police protection to rescue a sheep is surely misappropriation of public funds, something Cameron claims to be against. Personally, I would have saved the sheep and thrown Cameron back in. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 2

12:51pm Tue 2 Apr 13

norton manor says...

if they were in the mire up to their waists how come the lamb survied was it on stilts??
if they were in the mire up to their waists how come the lamb survied was it on stilts?? norton manor
  • Score: -1

5:30pm Tue 2 Apr 13

Sid Hunt says...

The report doesn't mention the lamb being stuck or rescued.
The report doesn't mention the lamb being stuck or rescued. Sid Hunt
  • Score: 1

10:54am Wed 3 Apr 13

dant40 says...

It's ashame the force don't respond as fast as that when there is a breakin or armed robbery taking place when your on the phone to them.
It's ashame the force don't respond as fast as that when there is a breakin or armed robbery taking place when your on the phone to them. dant40
  • Score: 0

1:33pm Wed 3 Apr 13

Lord Palmerstone says...

nanny rabbits wrote:
What a pity Mr Cameron cannot show the same empathy to the the thousands of British people currently drowning in the swamp of poverty that he and his government have created.
I think you mean the morass of BrownBlair ordure. Anyway Dave is doing good for the welfare bunch-1% increase, 1.2% before tax. Nothing for workers and savers. More for dictators in the Third World too; was one of those sheep driving a Mercedes with his 7 wives inside by any chance?
[quote][p][bold]nanny rabbits[/bold] wrote: What a pity Mr Cameron cannot show the same empathy to the the thousands of British people currently drowning in the swamp of poverty that he and his government have created.[/p][/quote]I think you mean the morass of BrownBlair ordure. Anyway Dave is doing good for the welfare bunch-1% increase, 1.2% before tax. Nothing for workers and savers. More for dictators in the Third World too; was one of those sheep driving a Mercedes with his 7 wives inside by any chance? Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 1

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