A TEAM of firefighters who pulled a drowning man from a freezing river have been honoured with a bravery award by the First Minister.
One of the team of five jumped into the river Esk at Dalkeith to physically stop the man floating any further downstream and dragged him to the riverbank.
In December, Watch Manager David Morrison and firefighters Alistair Hosie, Calum Murray, Anthony Smith and Alastair Campbell from the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service were called to reports there was a man stuck in the river.
The firefighters attempted to throw lines to him but the man’s waning strength and the power of the water turned him face down in the water.
With no strength to rescue himself and his face submerged in the water, he began to float downstream. With time running out Watch Manager Morrison instructed firefighter Hosie to enter the water downstream and catch the man, and the rest of the crew helped drag him to the riverbank.
The men were awarded for their bravery in a ceremony at Edinburgh Castle on Tuesday night.
Sixty people from the emergency and voluntary sectors and the public were presented with Brave@Heart Awards recognising acts of bravery and heroism.
Of the 60 winners, 16 awards were presented to members of the public.
Five of the winners also received the St Andrew’s Award for exceptional acts of bravery. Among the winners is a posthumous award for Lilian Hood, who put her own life in danger during a vicious stabbing, and was collected by her sons Michael and David Higgins.
Hearing a commotion next door Lilian went round to her neighbour’s flat in Niddrie and intervened after seeing a man stabbing him. She told him to stop but he grabbed her by the throat and threatened to stab her, before making off.
Lilian phoned 999 and administered first aid until help arrived.
Her neighbour suffered serious injuries and lost a kidney but had it not been for her help, he could have lost his life. She also helped officers identify the culprit.
The awards were presented by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. She said: “It is a humbling experience being able to recognise those individuals that have demonstrated such heroism and exceptional bravery.
“Many of those recognised go to work each day and risk their lives to ensure the safety of the wider public, and there are also private individuals recognised who have intervened to assist fellow citizens who were in danger or distress. This is our opportunity to give them our heartfelt thanks – they are an inspiration to us all.”
Brave@Heart 2018 panel chair, Philip Jones, said: “It would be all too easy for these selfless acts to pass us by but the awards make sure that doesn’t happen. The winners also remind us that thousands of people in Scotland are working to protect others every day. It’s so important that their contributions are celebrated because they set an example to us all.”