A greenkeeper last night told how he dragged a drowning man from a deep pond.

Terry Harrison had no thought for his own health when he dived into the chilly water to pull the man to safety, from the pond at Blackwell Grange Golf Club, Darlington.

Head greenkeeper Mr Harrison, 36, was driving along on his mower when he spotted a commotion near the second tee.

A group of elderly golfers were trying to catch his attention and Mr Harrison saw that a man was struggling in the water.

As the man went under the water, Mr Harrison jumped in to rescue him, pausing only to remove his heavy work coat.

He said: "Usually, you get kids messing about, but then I saw this guy bobbing up and down and then the last time he went under.

"I couldn't just stand there and let someone die.

"To be honest, I didn't give much thought to my own safety. My health and safety officer has told me I was a naughty boy.

"I was quite surprised at how deep it was. I thought I might be able to wade out to him, but it's an old quarry - about 30ft deep - and shelves very quickly.

"He was about 12ft out and quite a big man, about 6ft. He wasn't a little thin lad.

"But I managed to pull him out and, with the help of the other members, got him on the bank."

When they got the 26-year-old man to safety, he kept slipping in and out of consciousness. However, as he warmed up he was able to give them his name.

Mr Harrison and the other golfers kept him calm and warm until paramedics arrived.

No further details have been released about the man or his condition.

Mr Harrison, who has worked for the club for nearly ten years, said: "After he'd gone, I went home and had a red hot shower as it was absolutely freezing.

"It wasn't a very warm day and that area of the course doesn't get much sun. I was a bit shocked, so I had a cup of tea and reflected on it.

"It's the first time I've ever had to deal with anything like that.

"Since then, some of the lads from the club have started calling me David Hasselhoff and asking me where my red trunks are.

"I'm just glad it worked out okay in the end."