When Nev Cowgill was named the South Coast and Southern Inland region’s senior volunteer of the year in September, the 76-year-old told the Magnet he “just likes to help people”.
On Saturday afternoon, he took that mantra beyond just people, rescuing a dog that had fallen over the edge of a cliff near Marine Rescue Eden.
After spotting a rabbit, ‘Honey’ took off in pursuit, falling around 30 metres into the sea below.
After getting the call, he raced to the SES base to pick up his kit bag, and arrived at Marine Rescue to join fellow team members Pam Cocks, Allen Greening and James Knot.
With help from his team, the man who also volunteers his time for the First Eden Sea Scouts, Marine Rescue, Essci, the Eden RSL sub-branch and Eden Foreshore Committee, made the descent.
“When I got down there I called the dog – he was quite placid and I think he was actually quite happy to see me,” Nev said.
“It was about 1 o’clock when he went over and we didn’t get to him until about 4, but he didn’t seem distressed at all – just soaking wet from being in the water.
“I’d emptied out my kit bag before I went down, and after he came over to me I popped him in the bag, popped the bag on my back and came back up again.
“Once we got to the top, we reunited the dog with his owner and everyone was happy.”
Miraculously, despite the huge fall, ‘Honey’ walked away with just a few cuts and bruises.
Nev said he only got the owner’s first name, Kevin, and now hopes to find out how ‘Honey’ is doing.
“It’s probably a good 30 metres down – it’s amazing the dog only ended up with a few cuts on its face and eyelids,” Nev said.
“I know the owner’s name was Kevin, and I’d like to know how his dog is, but I’m not sure of his last name.”
Nev said after years of training, it was good to see the results in effect.
“It felt good afterwards, but it should be noted that it was a team effort – I was just the bloke who went over the edge and came back up again,” he said.
“Pam Cocks, Allen Greening and James Knot were all there as well, and I couldn’t have done it without them.”