Participants in the popular parkrun event came to the startled creature’s aid in Hillsborough Park on Saturday, May 7, helping to keep it calm and safe while they waited for firefighters and the RSPCA to arrive and take over.
Thankfully, it’s understood the deer was relatively unscathed, sustaining only cuts and bruises, and was able to be released back into the wild somewhere along the Rivelin Valley following its traumatic ordeal.
Diana Maynard was one of the parkrunners who helped restrain and soothe the female deer, which she named Deirdre.
She told how she and three or four other runners had pinned the animal down and she had used her coat and a bandana to cover the wounds it sustained trying to escape through fencing in the park, where construction work is taking place.
They sprayed it with water to keep it cool and she managed to get it to drink from her water bottle to prevent it becoming dehydrated, but one of the deer’s saviours suffered minor injuries himself as the deer repeatedly kicked out in its panicked state.
Diana described how she thought she had seen a deer shoot past her upon arriving in the park, and as runners lined up for the race, organisers announced there was a deer on the loose, but it still came as a surprise when midway through the 5km run Deirdre came hurtling head-on towards runners, clipping Diana on her way past.
“Having finished the race, I was walking back to collect my bag when I saw a bit of a commotion,” said Diana.
“I realised there was a group of three or four people basically wrestling with this deer on the ground.
“I grew up in the countryside and have some experience of rescuing injured deer so I went to see if I could help.
“The deer was clearly very distressed and was kicking out but we managed to pin it down and tried to soothe it by talking to it calmly.
“I could see its leg was injured so I wrapped my bandana around the wound to stop the bleeding.”
Diana said someone called the fire service and when firefighters arrived they were ‘brilliant’, taking over from the people holding the deer down, though Diana remained with the stricken creature, which she said by this stage appeared to have calmed down considerably.
She told how someone from the RSPCA eventually arrived after about two hours and was able to check the deer over before bundling it into a van. She said the woman from the RSPCA assured her the deer was not badly injured and would be released somewhere along the Rivelin Valley.
“Coming from the countryside, I’ve seen lots of deer in the wild but I never expected to see one in Hillsborough Park like this,” said Diana.
“I’m just glad it was OK, and I’d like to thank everyone else who helped.”
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said it was called at 10.07am and sent one officer and a fire crew from Rivelin Fire Station, who had finished dealing with the incident by roughly 11.20am.