MIKE READ has been honoured for saving a puppy from drowning in the Thames in Henley.
Animal welfare charity PETA has presented the BBC Radio Berkshire presenter with its Hero to Animals award.
The former Radio 1 DJ plucked border terrier Digby from the river near Marsh Lock on February 27. The six-month-old had jumped into the river to chase some ducks but struggled to stay afloat.
His owner Sarah Prior called for help before the currents could sweep Digby away. Read, who lives in nearby Mill Lane and was passing, grabbed the dog by the collar and pulled him out.
He was surprised to receive the award, saying: “I just thought ‘crikey’. It was completely unnecessary, of course, but it was very nice of them. I think anyone put on the spot like that would have done the same. You’d just go for it — I happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
Mrs Prior, 43, of St Mark’s Road, Henley, said: “I’m very pleased for him. He really helped us out on the day. He stepped in instinctively and without a second’s thought.I was very touched that a complete stranger would do something like that for a person and a dog they didn’t know.”
Yvonne Taylor, PETA’s UK senior programmes manager, said: “By remaining calm and determined, Mike Read saved the life of a terrified animal who may have been within minutes of drowning.
“We are fortunate to have such local heroes, who are willing to put their own safety on the line in order to protect all residents, whether on two legs or four.”