BRIXHAM Coastguards were paid back for their hard work saving a Newton Abbot man’s dog after a fundraiser made £347 for them. 

The Coastguard team’s assistance was called in for Ernie the dog in January, after he fell from a cliff at Roundham Head in Paignton. 

‘Ernie’s very well behaved usually,’ said Marilyn Sidebottom, the organiser of the fundraiser and the mother of Ernie’s owner.

‘But he had a funny five minutes and jumped up on the wall, saw the water below and must have fancied a swim because he tried to scramble down and instantly fell off the cliff and into the water.

‘He landed in the water, and managed to drag himself to a ledge, but he was trapped between two rocks and he just couldn’t move  and scramble back up. It was dark, about 7.30pm.’

Shortly after, Ernie was saved by Toby from the Brixham Coastguard team, who all took a shine to the Red Fox Labrador. 

Marilyn said: ‘They took him back into Paignton Harbour, he was terrified, but the coastguards fell in love with him, and were taking pictures with him and things.’

Since Ernie’s ordeal, Marilyn and her family wanted to pay Toby and the coastguards back for their work, so last week they held a fundraiser for them. 

The big day kicked off at the family business, Humaryn Shetland Pony Rides, just outside Ashburton last week. 

Pony rides were on offer for the little ones, as well as other games such as tombola, lucky dip and guess the name of the teddy bear. 

Toby from the Brixham Coastguards even attended, giving Ernie the chance to be reunited with his rescuer. 

Marilyn said: ‘It went fantastically, we made about £347, which is a great thank you for their work. Toby was thrilled to bits about it, but two minutes after he left the event, he got called out. 

‘But we had a lovely time, Ernie behaved himself impeccably, he went round and gave the children their rosettes.

‘He bounded up to Toby and licked him and instantly recognised him! Toby was really pleased with the whole thing. It feels good, and it’s a great conclusion to what ended up being a happy story.’