A FATHER was trampled to death by a herd of cows when he went back to save his elderly dog.

Tributes have been paid to dog-lover John McNamara, 67, after he was found fatally injured in a field near his cottage home on Monday.

Speaking outside his four-bed detached home in Forest Row, East Sussex, one of his daughters said: “We do want to raise concerns to stop things like this happening again because it was quite a violent death which could have easily been avoided.”

Her friend Koko Easterbrook paid tribute to John on Facebook.

She wrote: “This man in question actually went above and beyond, getting his other two dogs out of harm’s way before returning to rescue the third who was quite elderly and couldn’t get out of the way fast enough.

“An absolute hero.

“Rest in peace John, one of the most bravest, golden-hearted should I have even known.”

Pensioners at Forest Row Community Centre paid tribute to John, who volunteered in its kitchen every Thursday.

John Grantham, 83, a retired blacksmith and former farrier for the Horse Artillery, said: “It’s just unbelievable that something like this could happen and especially for somebody like John who will have known where he was going.

“He was a wonderful man.

“We used to joke together. I used to pull his leg and he would pull mine just as viciously.

“He had a very good sense of humour, he was just a happy man.”

He added: “He knew the area, he would have walked there regularly. I would have thought he would have gone through them before so it seems odd that this should have happened. The only thing I can think of is something spooked the cattle.”

Keith Whitlock, a retired academic, said: “He volunteered for the community centre - he had done it for years.

“He was very much liked. He did an excellent job.”