As our countdown to the Examiner Community Awards next week continues we take a look at the nominees for this year’s Courage Award.
The winner will be revealed at the glittering awards night at the John Smith’s Stadium on Wednesday, June 3.Kirklees Stadium Development LTD, which facilitates and operates The John Smith’s Stadium, is proud and delighted to be sponsoring this year’s Courage Award.
Gareth Davies, Managing Director of KSDL said: “It’s truly an honour to be sponsoring this year’s Courage Award and to celebrate each nominee’s tremendous achievements.
“Every year I find myself walking away inspired by these individuals who have gone above and beyond, whether it was through a singular heroic act or battling on a day to day basis against illness, disability or adversity.”
Here are the three award nominees:
James Ellis had just a split second to think when he saw a car hurtling towards his friend – he shoved him out of the way and took the impact himself.
The drama happened in Greenhill Bank Road, Scholes, on Boxing Day when it was snowing heavily.
James, 39, Victoria Stratford, 31, and her friend Lucy Farrell were walking back to their homes in New Mill at about 10.20pm after doing a good deed.
James said: “We were having a party at home and realised it was snowing so badly and a woman in her 80s, her daughter and son-in-law were struggling to walk so we helped them to their home in Scholes.”
Coming back down they were walking in the road due to the bad weather when a 4x4 suddenly appeared round the corner.
James said: “The first I knew was when Victoria screamed. I had no time to think so it was just an instant reaction that I grabbed hold of Victoria and pulled her across me.”
The car hit James on his hip, leaving a tyre mark on his calf and the wing mirror struck his forearm.
Victoria added: “James was in the middle of us and he somehow picked me up with his left arm and threw me out of the way.”
Amazingly, James got up, brushed himself down and walked Victoria and Lucy the half-a-mile or so home in near blizzard conditions before ringing the police. It was only the following day that he went to hospital to be checked over. Remarkably he escaped serious injury and was released after treatment for extensive bruising to his shoulder, chest and legs.
Victoria, of New Mill, said: “James was a hero – but I thought he was dead.”
James said: “I was very lucky – it could have been a lot worse.”
Police are still investigating the incident.
James is married to Emma and the couple, who live in New Mill, have an eight-year-old son, Conor. He works at JTD Building Supplies in Meltham.
Bravery comes in so many forms ... and one is having the courage to face up to a life-changing situation.
This happened to former Slaithwaite firefighter and Assistant District Commander Pete Lau when he was paralysed in a cycling accident last year.
Everything changed for the dad-of-two when he was in a collision with a car in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, last April.
The 49-year-old from Fixby said: “I knew it was bad. One of the things you learn in the fire service is how to do a casualty assessment and feel down the body for distortion or pain. I did that to myself and realised I could not feel my hands touching myself.”
The Great North Air Ambulance flew Pete to The James Cook University Hospital in Teesside where he was in a coma for four weeks. His vertebrae was shattered and bone had been pushed through his spinal cord. Pete underwent major surgery to place a metal rod in his back.
Last October Pete was finally able to come out of hospital and to his new home, a bungalow.
Good friend and colleague Lee Benson said: “Pete has inspired others throughout his last life-changing 12 months. He has shown courage and determination and has been a leading example of the fighting spirit that is expected of all firefighters. His never give up attitude shone through even in his darkest hours and all those around him in similar circumstances could not help but be positively affected by his inspirational yet humble attitude.
Pete and wife Debbie, a Senior Sister in A&E at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, have two children Hannah, 25, Peter 22, and two grandchildren Kinza, five and four-year-old Sauhail.
He said: “What happened was an immense shock and a vital part of the rehab is getting your head around it, taking stock of life and realising that it is life-changing, not life-ending and that’s my ethos as I move on. I‘m a fighter. I’m still here, still smiling and looking forward to the new challenges ahead of me.”
The team of rescuers from Craig Miller Joinery Ltd
A courageous team of Huddersfield workmen never stopped to think about the dangers when a floor collapsed.
The team from Dalton-based Craig Miller Joinery Ltd were working on a site in Mirfield town centre when a concrete floor in a neighbouring property collapsed, sending 57-year-old Meltham man Ian Wilson falling 7ft into the cellar below, A huge slab of concrete landed on him, leaving him struggling for breath.
His brother Andrew, 44, who was working with him, desperately tried to free him before rushing for help from the joinery workers.
The team – including Wayne Sanderson, Ian Kirkwood, Joe Craven, Richard Johnson and Craig Miller – then immediately ran the building to help Ian who was bleeding and unconscious.
Wayne, Joe and Ian jumped down the cellar and removed the slab which was crushing his chest. Richard then ran to Mirfield fire station to summon help while Craig collected safety helmets from the firm’s vehicles due to the danger posed by the steel beams.
At this point in the rescue some of the men were holding the beam up to prevent it falling onto the victim. Wayne gave first aid while they waited for the emergency services which included a specialist rope rescue team. They put Ian in the recovery position and then physically held him down even after he regained consciousness to prevent him from moving.
Company director Craig said: “The paramedics wouldn’t enter the building, saying the conditions to be too dangerous. Me and Richard were then prevented from re-entering the building by the fire officer who was concerned about a further collapse.
“The main thing that made me so proud was the courage and bravery shown by the men who jumped into the cellar without a care for their own safety to help the trapped man. They worked as team to do everything possible to help the victim.
“After the whole incident the guys involved calmly made a cup of tea. After their brew they put their tool belts back on and resumed their work as though nothing had occurred. As the boss, I was speechless and incredibly proud to have such great lads as employees.”