A five-year-old boy has been hailed a hero after he saved a dog from drowning in a flooded stream.
Jaxon Youd, from Hoghton, near Preston, was on a nature walk at Brindle Lodge with his mum, Carly, 31, and sister Josie, seven, when they heard a cry for help from the woods.
Eagle-eyed Josie then spotted a woman lying on the ground near the brook below and alerted her mum.
Dog walker Collette Martin lay crumpled on the ground near the river after tumbling down the steep, muddy embankment - fracturing her wrist.
Collette pointed towards the water, where her Jack Russell, Roxy, was half-submerged beneath the rushing water and paddling wildly to stay afloat.
Quick-thinking Jaxon sprung straight into action to help the eight-year-old dog.
“Before I could even think of what to do, Jaxon was already scrambling down the slippery embankment to rescue the poor thing,” said Carly.
“The dog was starting to go under, and it was looking shattered trying to keep its head above the water.
“The poor woman was hysterical, she was watching her dog drowning before her eyes.
“But Jaxon didn’t think twice. He slid down the embankment on his bottom and jumped straight into the water.
“He waded in and reached for Roxy’s harness and pulled her from the water with all his might.
“We couldn’t believe how quick and instinctively he reacted in that situation.”
As Jaxon held onto a shivering Roxy, Josie comforted the injured woman and mum Carly called the emergency services.
Collette said: “Jaxon is a real-life superhero, he really is. I dread to think what would have happened to us both if they hadn’t found me.
“Me and Roxy go on that walk every day, and nothing like this has ever happened before.
“But the rain made the embankment really slippery and I lost my footing and went down like a ton of bricks.
“I had been lying there for about 20 minutes, and I was beginning to panic.
“Then Roxy ended up in the river and she became stuck. She couldn’t climb onto the embankment because it was so slippy.
“It was a nightmare, watching her helpless, as she paddled her little legs to keep her head above the water.
“I could tell she was getting tired - she’s eight years old now and she’s not a great swimmer at the best of times.
“If Carly and the kids hadn’t turned up when they did, it just doesn’t bear thinking about.
“I think we would have been alone there all night and it would have been a very, very different story.”
Collette said she and Roxy have made “friends for life” with Carly and her children.
“I’ll always be grateful for what they did for me and Roxy”, said an emotional Colette, from Hoghton.
“They stayed with me for three hours and never left me alone for one minute.
“And that little boy. He is an absolute star. A real-life superhero.”
After Roxy’s rescue, Jaxon watched wide-eyed as more real-life heroes arrived at the river.
Volunteers with Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue joined paramedics in scrambling down the embankment to help Collette.
After administering pain-killing gas and treating her fractured wrist, the mountain rescue team lifted her 20ft up the muddy embankment.
Collette was then taken to hospital by ambulance.
“An hour’s walk down the river turned out to be quite a traumatic three-and-a-half hours”, said Carly.
“But I’m so proud of my little hero, and Josie, who came running to me after hearing Colette crying out for help.
“We were the only people down there in the woods and it was getting ready to pour down again.
“God knows what would have happened if we hadn’t come across her that evening.”
After being discharged from hospital, Collette did not waste any time making her appreciation known.
The next day, Collette presented her young hero with a ‘thank you’ card and a cash reward for his bravery.
The card read: “To Jackson the Superhero, thank you so much for saving my dog Roxy.
“You were so brave! Get mummy to buy something nice for you.
“Thank you, thank you! - Collette and Roxy.”
Carly said: “Colette has been so lovely with Jaxon, she even gave him a gift of £30 as a thank you for saving Roxy. Jaxon and Josie are obsessed with Toy Story, so you can imagine how quickly they were dragging me to the toy shop to spend their reward!”
Brave Jaxon has happily splashed the cash on some new toys - talking figures of his favourite Toy Story heroes Woody and Buzz Lightyear.