Moment ‘hero’ father plunges into murky canal to rescue a baby deer from drowning

  • Four people were forced to rescue a fawn which fell in water in Wigan on Sunday
  • Denver Kendall, 54, jumped in the water topless to wrestle a lead on the deer 
  • After managed to secure it, the group were able to pull the deer to safety
  • Once on dry land the group calmed the deer down before it sprinted off again 

This is the moment a heroic dad ditched his cosy night in with a takeaway to rescue a drowning fawn – diving topless into a murky canal to save the young deer’s life.

Julie and Denver Kendall had just sat down for their Sunday treat when their son Chris, 24, called in a panic after spotting the startled deer had fallen into the water and was struggling to swim.

The couple, both 54, then ran from their home in Wigan, Greater Manchester, to Kirkless Local Nature Reserve, where they found the small creature battling to stay above water and unable to escape due to the high walls.

Denver Kendall, 54, jumped into a canal in Wigan topless to join efforts to save a fawn which had fallen in the water on Sunday night

In the clip, father-of-three Denver can be seen topless in the mossy depths wrestling to get his dog’s lead around the fawn’s neck so it can be dragged to safety.

With the help of two onlookers, Denver and Chris manage to haul the frightened animal out of the canal to safety before it leaps off into the distance full-of-life.

Julie said: ‘It’s not something you expect on a Sunday night. My son Chris was out for a walk – that’s when we got the phone call. He attracts nature. It always happens no matter where he goes.

‘Our tea had just been delivered. We were being lazy and having a Chinese takeaway.


The group of four people, Denver and his son Chris as well as two onlooker, all worked together to secure a dog lead around the deers neck to hoist it out the water

Julie watched on from the sidelines as her husband Denver (pictured together) wrestled with the young deer to try and save it 

‘Just as we were running out the door the takeaway was arriving. I thought “oh flipping heck, I don’t believe this”.’

Despite their dinner being interrupted, the kind-hearted couple raced out of their home, grabbing a dog lead and towel on the way, before running 400 metres to the scene.

Julie, who lives along Leeds Liverpool canal, explained her son had been walking along the nature reserve with his fiancée and their two dogs when the incident happened. 

She believes the fawn was startled when the couple and their pets walked past and misjudged the jump over the canal.  

Chip shop owner Julie stood at the side-lines shouting encouragement as Denver and Chris waded through the water trying to fasten the loop of the dog lead around the deer’s neck – before pulling it to the side where it was hoisted out.

After the group were able to pull the deer out with the dog lead (pictured) they consoled it for a few minutes before it leap away and into the bushes again

Julie said: ‘They had the deer a couple of times prior to them getting it – it just kept escaping.

‘It was luckily in the lock rather than the whole of the canal. If it’d gone in the whole canal it’d be swimming forever.

‘My husband took our dog’s lead because my son couldn’t let his dogs off the lead.

‘I took a towel knowing they would need it and by the time I’d got there, my son and Denver were already in the water.

‘There were a couple of other gentleman also on site trying to assist and reassure them.

‘The entire rescue mission took about 25 minutes.’

Julie believes the fawn was startled when her son and his partner and their two dogs walked past and as a result it misjudged the jump over the canal


It took several attempts to save the young deer who was terrified and kept trying to escape Denver as he tried to help it

After finding itself on solid ground, the deer then jumped up on its legs and dashed off, briefly looking over at its rescuers before running into the distance.

As Denver hauled himself out of the water, his face had blood pouring from two wounds as he had been scratched by the deer’s antlers.

Julie said: ‘The deer was approximately one-year-old. It did a little look around as if to thank you then off it popped.

‘I saw the blood coming from Denver’s face. He must have been caught by the antler. He said his eye was a bit bruised this morning but he’s fine.’

After the deer panicked and fell in the water the couple’s son Chris (pictured) ran to their house for help and the father-son duo acted quickly to save the animal

After Julie posted the clip on social media, Denver and Chris were hailed as heroes for rescuing the cute animal – with one Facebook user branding them heroes.

Christine Clayton said: ‘Bloody heroes the lot of you. Now get in a nice hot disinfected shower.’

Natalie Gallagher said: ‘Awwww this is brilliant! Well done Denver, Chris and everyone involved, I love this.’

Rita Wallace said: ‘This is brilliant! Well done.’ 

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