A MOTHER has spoken of the terrifying moment when a swarm of wasps attacked her family, including their dog, near a river in York.

Sarah Stelling was walking with her four children - Evie, 10, Jack, 7, and twins, Amelie and Harry, aged six - and the family's two dogs along the side of the River Foss in Haxby, where the family live.

The drama began when Harry was running along the river bank and fell over and started screaming. As Sarah went to pick him up, she saw he was being stung by wasps.

More wasps then approached the family and started attacking Sarah and the three other children and their dogs, with their golden retriever Bailey taking the brunt of the insect assault.

Bailey sustained many stings and fell into the river after losing his balance. Fire crews were called to the scene to rescue Bailey.

Sarah said: "It was absolutely terrifying. The children were screaming. I was in a massive panic.

"If it wasn't for Bailey taking the full force of the wasps coming towards us we could have been in hospital seriously ill.

"Imagine if it was a child, it was heart-breaking that it happened to Bailey."

Sarah and her children all suffered multiple stings, while Bailey was stung all over his body and his eyes became ulcerated. He was taken to the vets and was given steroids, antihistamines and was put on a drip. His treatment will cost more than £350, Sarah said.

She has praised the firefighters who rescued Bailey from the river.

"The fire brigade were amazing, I can't fault their assistance", she said.

"There's no way I could have gone into the river to save Bailey when I had my four children."

Sarah has also thanked local residents who helped look after her children following the attack.

She says pest control officers need to be sent to the area where the incident happened to deal with the wasp nests. In addition, she says lifebuoys should be placed along the side of the river in Haxby in case someone falls in and needs help.

A fundraising page has been set up to help pay for Bailey's treatment, with any extra money going to Red Watch who saved Bailey from the river. To make a donation, visit: https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Baileysbills