The founder of Wildlife Aid Foundation in Leatherhead was forced to face his fear of heights this week after scaling a 70ft tower to rescue a peregrine falcon.

Simon Cowell MBE, who presents TV documentary series Wildlife SOS, was called to the scene after concerned residents spotted a falcon, which had nested on the tower with its partner, tangled in netting hanging from the tower.

After climbing 300 steps and out onto an 18-inch ledge, Mr Cowell was able to cut the falcon free and bring it down to safety.

He said: “I don’t mind telling you I was petrified.

“I can’t stand heights and because they told me the railings were unsafe I ended up having to crawl on my hands and knees!

“Luckily, once I got to the poor bird I was able to cut away enough of the netting to be able to free him, and then carry him down very carefully and very gradually.”

“Although our falcon patient is very bruised, scratched and swollen, and has extensive feather damage, we are doing everything we can for him.

“At the moment, though, he is still dazed and in shock so it is difficult to make a full assessment of how long he will take to recuperate.

“We have put him in our special daylight-secluded aviary.”

The location of the tower cannot be identified due to the sensitivity of the nesting site.

The bird is now being cared for at the Wildlife Aid Foundation’s veterinary hospital in Randalls Road, Leatherhead where hundreds of sick and orphaned wild animals and birds are nursed back to health every year.

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