A LETTER from the postman saved the life of an elderly woman who became trapped by rising waters in her garden after a fall, writes Philip Sedgwick.

Leyburn postman Danny Weston was over halfway through his usual round last Tuesday, just before the flash flooding which caused chaos in the Yorkshire Dales. While delivering in the Brentwood area, he noticed a house had its door open.

Knowing the inhabitant was an elderly woman who lived alone, he was suspicious, and his instincts were confirmed when he heard two cries for help.

In the garden he found the 92-year-old partially-sighted occupant sat in the stream. Appearing to be in some distress she explained to him she had been weeding, fallen in the water and couldn’t get up.

Mr Weston said: “I asked her if she was injured and she said her knee hurt, so I jumped down as it is a few feet lower. I knew I couldn’t do it by myself so I ran next door and got Tony.”

Next door neighbour Tony Booth helped Mr Weston pull her out of the water, but could not get her up the embankment.

They managed to get her on her side, and a paramedic and fire crews were called. At this point the weather worsened, and a torrential downpour of heavy rain caused the stream’s water level to rise at an alarming rate.

However the arrival of firefighters from Leyburn soon rectified the deteriorating situation.

Mr Booth said: “As the paramedic arrived the heavens opened and you could see the water level in the beck rising, it was getting quite dangerous.

“We couldn’t get her up the bank, minutes later the firemen came and four lads just got it sorted. I have never seen weather like it; it was like a torrent.”

Susan Simpson, who lives opposite, said: “She is a very independent person but she was very lucky and could have died had not been for the prompt action of the postman, Tony, the paramedic and the firefighters.”

A former accountant, the woman was admitted to hospital as a precaution against the effects of hypothermia and is still an in-patient, where she is said to be in good spirits, and has no broken bones, although her leg is in a splint.

It is believed that she had been trapped in the beck for over an hour. Her niece Jean Stead, said: “Although my aunt has a firm grip on life and is very strong, I believe that she may have drowned or died of hypothermia had it not been for the prompt actions of Danny and Tony.

“I have been in touch and thanked them along with the firefighters and paramedic.”

Mr Weston played down his role. “I didn’t really do anything,” he said. “It was a team effort and I am glad we were able to get her out. It’s a good job I had a letter for her otherwise it doesn’t bear thinking about.”