FIRE crews from across Essex were called to the aid of a hapless horse on Friday after it fell in to a ditch.

We are used royalty making appearances, especially on VE Day, but on Friday a different kind if Duchess greeted Essex firefighters.

Teams from Colchester and Chelmsford were called to a field in Great Horkesley after reports of a horse being trapped in a ditch.

The horse, named Duchess, was first noticed by her owner and had fallen on her side into the ditch, becoming stuck.

Fire crews arrived at the incident, which took place at around 6.40pm on VE Day, along with an animal rescue unit to help free the horse, who is 25-years-old and around 17 hands.

Teams worked quickly to free the horse with it taking virtually every firefighter there to pull the horse free.

Crew Manager Kieran Davis said: "Working alongside a vet and the owner, we used lines and slings, attached to our Animal Rescue Unit, to pull and slide the horse out of the ditch.

"Once she was out of the ditch we waited about 20 minutes for the sedation to wear off and made sure she was able to get back on to her feet and go off to get her dinner.

"It's always great to see the range of expertise and skills our firefighters have, and this is yet another example of the specialised work we do to keep our communities, even the four-legged ones, safe."

The whole rescue operation took around three hours to finally get Duchess free from the ditch.