Heroic East Lancashire brothers and a trusty feline rescue pensioner stranded in 40ft deep ravine

An elderly man who lay trapped for six hours after plunging into a remote and steep ravine was saved by three brave brothers ....and a cat!

The Boden brothers -  Simon, Tony and Chris.
The Boden brothers - Simon, Tony and Chris.

Raymond and Maureen Boden, of Colne, along with their three sons Tony (51), Chris (47) and Simon (42), were cleaning their late grandmother's grave at a remote cemetery in Cornholme, near Todmorden, when they were alerted by a ginger cat to the top of the ravine where a pensioner had slipped and fallen.

Quick-thinking Simon and his brothers scrambled down to help the stricken man who was turning blue and had been stuck there for six hours before calling for an ambulance and alerting the mountain rescue team. He had suffered a broken ankle and was unable to move.

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Recalling the rescue mission, which took place on Bank Holiday Sunday, Burnley-born Simon (42), said: "It's all so surreal. One minute we are picking up leaves, cleaning the area in this remote place, the next minute I see this beautiful ginger cat. I am a big lover of cats, so I tried to coax it, but it kept meowing and led me to this ravine. It was very steep so when I looked down I was absolutely shocked to see a man injured and lying there. I shouted down, but didn't get a response. I couldn't really take it all in so I immediately shouted for my brother Tony, who managed to make his way down.

"He spoke to the man, who luckily was conscious, but had suffered injuries to his ankle. Tony kept talking to him while I called for an ambulance and alerted the mountain rescuers. During this time, my brother Chris arrived at the scene and moments later the two of them were helping the injured man climb out of the ravine."

He added: "Paramedics and mountain rescuers arrived and the man, who was in his seventies, was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital."

Simon went on to say: "It's a very isolated area and if it wasn't for the cat, who knows how long that man could have been there for. My brothers have since visited him in hospital and he seems to be recovering well, but it's all thanks to the cat that he was found."