David Walliams saves dog from drowning in the Thames

David Walliams saves dog from drowning in the ThamesPA


Yesterday comedian David Walliams saved a dog from drowning during his marathon charity swim along the Thames.

David swam over to save the one-year-old labrador called Vinny after hearing him fall into the water. The dog was struggling to get out because it has a bad hip.

The Little Britain star grabbed the dog by the scruff of the neck and pushed it onto the river back near Cookham Lock in Berkshire.

He said: "We had a little incident with a dog on the way to Maidenhead - I heard a splash and looked over to be met with the face of a sweet labrador.

"I thought he was fine, but he started to really struggle when he was getting out so I swan over and helped his owner get him out."

Vinny's owner Steve Outten from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, said: "Vinny has hip dysplasia and was really struggling to get out just as David was swimming past.

"He stopped, swan over and helped me get him out, which when you think what he's going through with the swim is totally amazing. What a man."

David is now at the half way point, but he's apprehensive about the challenges that lie ahead.

He says: "It's fantastic to be half way - although if I think for too long about the fact that I've got to do as many miles again, I feel even sicker than normal.

"We have broken through the 100 mile barrier now which is great, but once I reach Teddington Lock the Thames becomes tidal and there's a whole new set of challenges. The currents and undertows are very dangerous so I'll need to be strong."

This isn't the first time that David has raised money for Sport Relief. In 2006 he swam the Channel, raising £1million for Sport Relief. He has also swum the Straits of Gibraltar and last year cycled from John O'Groats to Lands End.

If you'd like to get away from it all, click on the image below for our pick of the best autumn escapes...

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David Walliams saves dog from drowning in the Thames

Best for: The ultimate autumn escape
What we call autumn, the Americans call fall. And nowhere in the world is fall more flamboyant than in New England . Forget dull brown and yellow; in the north-eastern United States, trees turn vibrant red, glittering gold and orange – whole hillsides and mountainsides of them. What locals call ‘fall colour’ typically starts in northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont in mid-to-late September and moves slowly south into Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The peak period of ‘fall foliage’, and the busiest, is early-to-mid-October, particularly around the long Columbus Day national holiday weekend of 8-10 October, 2011. The most colourful trees are the scarlet-leaved maples, red oak and dogwood; birch poplar and elm turn bright yellow and gold; mountain maple and hickory glow orange; and sumac is purple.
Price: Stay at The Hawthorn Inn, an elegant New England mansion just steps from Camden Harbour (Maine ), from $100 per room per night. Or splash out on the Omni Mount Washington Resort, a luxury hotel located in Bretton Woods in the New Hampshire Mountains and a favourite New England retreat of Presidents and celebrities. Offers B&B from $239 per room per night. Virgin Atlantic offers return flights from Boston New England in September from £395 per person. To book visit virgin-atlantic.com or call 0844 209 7310. For more information on the autumn colours in New England, visit discovernewengland.co.uk.

Best for: Families
Set on a magnificent beach in ever-fashionable Sardinia, Perdepera Beach Resort is the latest addition to the Mark Warner brand. Italian influence is clear in the food and laid-back Mediterranean style of this intimate club with watersports, tennis and childcare, making it fun as well as chic. A hidden gem of a resort in one of Europe's most wanted destinations, perfect for late summer sun.
Price: From £565pp (adult price, seven nights, full board with BA flights from Heathrow). Visit markwarner.co.uk

Best for: Families on a budget
With temperatures still likely to be reaching highs of 25C plus in the autumn, the Catalan sunshine and the hundreds of exciting festival activities taking place are the perfect antidote to the gloomy weather at home. Stay at Vilanova Park, just a 30-minute drive or train ride from Barcelona city centre. Families can enjoy an impressive swimming pool complex with Jacuzzi, sauna and spa, plus sports such as badminton, basketball, tennis, fitness classes and a gym. The Port Aventura theme park and Costa Caribe, the new Caribbean-themed water park, are within easy reach. Set within 40 hectares of gardens, and with an on-parc spa, it is also a great spot to enjoy a little rest and relaxation, particularly as it is located just 3 kilometres from a superb beach.
Price: Seven nights for a family of two adults and up to four children staying in a two-bedroom mobile home at Vilanova Park will cost just £252 (yes, really), accommodation only.  Fly-drive packages to Barcelona, Reus or Gerona airports are available at a supplement. To book, call 0844 406 0319 or visit keycamp.co.uk

Best for: Affordable Caribbean
Treat the whole family to a slice of paradise at Almond Beach Village, a four-star all-inclusive resort located in St Peter, on the prestigious West Coast of Barbados. Set on 32 acres of Barbados ’ Platinum Coast, its fringed by lush, tropical foliage, while a sugar mill adds a touch of history, and there's over a mile of white-sand beach. Almond Beach Village boasts ten swimming pools and two Jacuzzis, all freshwater, water sports include Hobie Cat sailing, snorkelling, waterskiing, windsurfing, aqua cycles, kayaks, fishing and banana boats, while diversions on land include a nine-hole, par-three golf course, and tennis courts. There's a Kids Club to keep everyone from newborn to teens happy with playgrounds, kiddie pools and activity centres.
Price: From £1049pp for a seven-night stay at Almond Beach Village in Barbados, including a room upgrade to a super deluxe from a standard at no extra cost, scheduled flights from Gatwick with Virgin Atlantic, taxes and transfers.  To book, call Almond Holidays 08444117181, or visit almondresorts.co.uk

Best for: Volunteers
On the southern coast of Mozambique lies Tofo Bay, a white sand beach with crashing waves that stretches 8km long. Like Bondi, but a little less crowded, Tofo is a surfer’s paradise. Looking out from Tofo’s grassy sand dunes it’s not uncommon to witness dolphins dancing in the surf or the fin of a whale shark breaking through the glistening water. Every day will be spent either on the beach or in the sea, helping to conduct vital research on Whale Sharks, which inhabit the Mozambique Channel and the Indian Ocean, which lie just off Tofo beach. Data on these magnificent creatures, which feed only on plankton, have to be collected in order to study their behaviour and understand how to protect their habitat.
Price: From £1399 for two weeks, includes accommodation, all meals, airport transfers, PADI open water course and certificate and 24 hour support. Visit realgap.co.uk or call 01892 516164.

Best for: Couples
Autumn is a great time to visit Capri, with less crowds, and beautiful weather. Stay at Punta Tragara, which is in a magnificent location overlooking the iconic Faraglioni rocks, and whose Penthouse Suite has recently undergone an entire facelift and refurbishment. With its own private terrace, the 968sq-ft suite boasts stylish and quirky interiors and a huge bathroom with an infrared sauna and its own Jacuzzi. Originally conceived by legendary architect, Le Corbusier, and situated in the heart of the island, just a short walk from the Piazzetta, this 44-room  property offers panoramic views, a charming spa and two restaurants.  
Price: From £1,851 per person, Kirker Holidays offer five nights at Punta Tragara, including return BA flights from London Gatwick to Naples, daily breakfast and private airport transfers. Call 0207 593 1899 or visit kirkerholidays.com.

Best for: Eco-lovers
The Andaman is a stunning eco-friendly resort in Langkawi’s Datai Bay and sits within an ancient rainforest. The whole island comes alive from the middle of September as the monsoon draws to an end, and it’s a dream for nature lovers. Also, beneath the azure waters of the bay fronting the Resort lies a 6,000-year-old fringing coral reef. Under the expert guidance of Dr Goedon’s, the resident marine biologist, ocean enthusiasts can discover some of the reef life’s most fascinating creatures in guided coral reef walks, whilst learning about the vulnerability of this ecosystem. You can also experience Asia’s most mesmerising bird migration as an array of tropical birdlife head off to Malaysia’s idyllic paradise islands. Featuring 186 rooms, each one reflects a contemporary Malaysian style with a choice of rainforest, treetop and sea views.
Price: Virgin Holidays offers seven nights at five-star The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa from £1,510 per person on a room-only basis. Price is based on two sharing and also includes flights from London Heathrow to Langkawi via Kuala Lumpur with Air Malaysia and transfers. Call 0844 577 3865 or visit virginholidays.co.uk

Best for: Self-catering
Watch the world go by from your very own sun lounger on your very own deck overlooking the sparkling ocean on the small yet perfectly formed Maganisi island. Luxe for less.
Price: From £639pp based on four sharing the three-bedroom villa. Includes flights, resort transfers,  seven nights' self-catering at Villa Daphne,  seven days car hire plus welcome hamper. Visit ionianislandholidays.com

Best for: Uber-luxury
The island of Mauritius sits 800km east of Madagascar, and is renowned as a dream destination for travellers, offering year-round average temperatures between 26 and 32°C. Miles of pristine powdery beaches and coconut palms grace the coastline, where crystal-clear lagoons shelter coral reefs and tropical fish. The five-star luxury resort Beau Rivage, situated on one of Mauritius’ most beautiful beaches, has four restaurants, two bars, a spa, water sports centre and a spectacular swimming pool.
Price: From £1329 pp in a Junior Suite on a half-board basis, including flights with Air Mauritius, airport taxes and private transfers to travel. Call 020 8774 7299 or visit luxuryholidaysdirect.com

Best for: Groups
Fall in love with this beautiful masseria in Puglia. It's perfect for friends or family, as it sleeps eight with four gorgeous bedrooms. Puglia is ideal for visiting in September as the Italian heat begins to cool but there's still plenty of sunshine. An added bonus with this property is that it halves in price from 10 September. From July to 10 September, it’s 4,900 euros pw, then 10 to 24 September it drops to 2,500 euros going down to £2,300  between 24 September and November. It's got a seriously gorgeous pool, and its authentic Italian styling is to-die for.
Price: From 312.50 euros pp, based on eight sharing in September. Nearest airport is Brindisi, which is 30 minutes away and Bari is one hour and ten minutes. It’s also possible to fly to Milan. Visit ownersdirect.co.uk

Best for: Romance
A charming and romantic resort, the family-owned Breezes Beach Club & Spa offers traditional Zanzibari style and warm hospitality for a get-away-from-it all tropical hideaway. It sits on pristine and peaceful Bwejuu beach, voted one of the world’s top 30 island beaches by Condé Nast Traveller. There's a pool bar right at the beachfront, floodlit tennis court, a fitness room, watersports and scuba diving centre. The Frangipani Spa offers luxurious treatments and there's also a shopping arcade, television room, regular activities and entertainment.
Price: From £1925 per person based on two sharing, Kuoni offers seven nights on half-board basis at Breezes Beach Club & Spa in a standard room, including flights with Kenya Airways from Heathrow (via Nairobi) with transfers in resort. Call 01306 747008 or visit kuoni.co.uk

Best for: Something different
Most people travel to Tuscany during the blistering heat of the summer, but Tuscany doesn't lose its beauty - or warm weather - in the autumn. Late September to December is also the best time to experience the famous Tuscan tradition of truffle hunting. Truffle seasons run for 11 months of the year starting in June, however while black truffles can be found on menus in early summer, the most sought-after white truffles – often referred to as the white diamond of Italy – can only be found from late September to December.
Price: From £1095 per person, Exsus offers three nights at Borgo Santo Pietro, including b&b accommodation in a double room, transfers and flights with BA/Meridiana from Gatwick to Florence. Exsus can also arrange: mountain bikes, hiking trails, cooking classes, archery and wine tasting. Visit exsus.com or call 0207 337 9010

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