A heartbroken schoolgirl has been reunited with her pet after getting into a hamster jam.
Holly the hamster was a Christmas present for eight-year-old Elisha Power, of Old Thorns Crescent, Buckshaw Village.
But the furry creature escaped from her exercise ball when it banged on the wall and the lid came open. She squeezed through a small gap in a kitchen cabinet and into a pipe under the house.
Elisha, a pupil at Lever House Primary School in Farington, and her parents, James and Claire, tried all sorts to rescue Holly.
James, 36, said: “My wife tried getting her out but she couldn’t get her hand down the pipe.
“We tried dangling strings with carrots on and using toys as a ladder but just couldn’t get her.”
Eventually they gave up for the night, but could still hear Holly scampering around.
The next morning, James contacted Stewart Milne Homes’ site manager Martin Sharkey to see if he could help.
The family live on a new housing estate and the builders sprung into action.
They initially thought all the cupboards in the fitted kitchen would have to be removed.
But instead they dug a three-feet-deep hole in the garden where the pipe ended.
When they got to the pipe, Holly did not appear and they could not tempt her out.
As a last resort, they used an industrial air hose which blew Holly out of the pipe 18 hours after she became trapped
James said: “She was covered in muck and cold and shaking, but alive and kicking.
“I was amazed. I didn’t think she would survive with everything she had been through.
“We gave her a bath and a blow dry and she was running around like nothing had happened. Elisha was absolutely made up.”
They have now put tape on the exercise ball to stop Holly escaping again.
And James wrote a letter of thanksto the managing director of Stewart Milne Homes.
He said: “It’s unlikely we would have ever found Holly without the expertise of Martin and his team.
“They really pulled out all the stops to help us and for that we are so grateful.” Martin said: “We were more than happy to help. We are just glad Holly was found safe and well.
“Our team know the Worden View development inside out.
“And thanks to that knowledge we were able to think outside the box – or pipe in this case – to retrieve her.”