A couple enjoying a canalside walk ended up saving a drowning woman.

Lisa Westwood and her partner James Larcombe were strolling with their two young sons on a Birmingham towpath when they spotted something unusual bobbing up and down in the water.

When they took a closer look, the couple from Druids Heath, Birmingham, realised the object was in fact a person who was minutes from drowning.

Miss Westwood, aged 24, had recently completed a course in first aid and was able to use her newly learned skills to help the woman. "We had been out shopping and had decided to take the children for a walk along the canal in Lifford Lane, Kings Norton," said Miss Westwood.

"We were looking for fish and boats when I noticed something on the surface of the water which looked like a piece of material.

"I said to my partner 'what's that?'"

Miss Westwood and and Mr Larcombe, 25, were horrified at what they saw next.

She said: "A head came out from under the water. At first I couldn't work out if it was a man or a woman or a child.

"I thought, 'Oh my God, someone is drowning', and the children started panicking." The couple rushed their sons Luke, aged four, and 18-month-old Jacob to the safety of their car and then ran into a nearby shop to raise the alarm.

Miss Westwood said: "James and I then ran up a bridge to get to the other side of the canal and he reached out to the person. "I saw her face for the first time when she tried to grab his hand. She was a middle-aged woman with long hair down her face. She kept saying 'help me, help me'."

Mr Larcombe, who works as a track operative for Land Rover, managed to pull the woman out and the couple cared for her until she was taken to Selly Oak Hospital by ambulance.

Miss Westwood had passed a course in first-aid a week earlier and believes her new qualifications helped her to care for the woman.