A FAMILY has issued an urgent appeal for help after its French Bulldog was swept away after falling into the River Tyne.

Paul Sanderson, from Wrekenton, Gateshead, travelled to Tyne Green in Hexham on Friday with 17-month-old Marley for a walk in the park.

However the day soon turned to despair after Marley fell into the river from a wall around 15 feet high.

Paul explained: “We were walking past the railway track and somewhere along there there is a wall with a step next to it.

“The dog must have have heard the water, jumped up on to the wall, missed his footing and fell.

“By that time I turned around and heard the thud and a plonk sound.

“I was just about to jump over the wall until I saw the drop. Marley was paddling, but there was nothing I could do at all.”

Paul was joined by another dog owner in his search for Marley, but by the time they got to where Marley fell into the river he was nowhere to be seen. “At the time the water was running really fast because there is really fast swells and currents around there,” Paul said.

He had contemplated jumping in to rescue Marley, but the strong current posed too great a danger.

Paul said: “I put my foot in the river and could feel the water flowing away from me.

“The fire service said they were really glad I didn’t jump in because they will have had to recover a body.”

Paul and his wife Michaela Gallon have since travelled to Tyne Green, as well as Corbridge and Riding Mill, with friends and family everyday to look for Marley.

“We have had an amazing response from the public. We have put posters up in Hexham, Corbridge and Riding Mill," said Paul.

“I have been in contact with local divers who are willing to help and dive to the bottom of the river.

“We have all been saying that it is our next best option.”

Marley was wearing a red harness at the time and went missing at around 4pm. Anyone with information is asked to call 07595 328970.