Recognition for life-saving heroes from St Albans and Stevenage

TWO quick-thinking men have been hailed as heroes for their bravery in rescuing people from burning cars. Mel French, 49, of Kings Road, St Albans, has been presented with the Royal Humane Society Award for pulling three people out of a blazing car after

TWO quick-thinking men have been hailed as heroes for their bravery in rescuing people from burning cars.

Mel French, 49, of Kings Road, St Albans, has been presented with the Royal Humane Society Award for pulling three people out of a blazing car after a collision which left one person dead. And John Farley, 62, received a gold medal at the Association of Chief Police Officers Police Public Bravery Awards in Manchester for rescuing two police officers from their car after an accident which claimed the life of a Harpenden teenager.

Father-of-two Mel, who was presented with his award by Chief Constable Frank Whiteley last week, had felt a bit self-conscious about going to collect the award but his girlfriend talked him into it. He said: "I'm glad she did because apparently the police went to a lot of trouble to get it for me."

Mel, a builder in St Albans, and his girlfriend Louise Neri were driving along the A414 from Hemel Hempstead to St Albans at 9.30pm on January 6, 2007, when they saw two cars, a Toyota Celica and a Fiat Punto, in flames after a collision.


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With the help of another man, Mel pulled out the 20-year old driver of the Fiat but he died in his arms.

Mel said: "Two women pulled a girl from the front seat of the Fiat and I then pulled two passengers out from the back of the car. I was terrified because I knew the car could go up at any minute but it's a split-second decision with things like this and I just went for it."

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It was not the first time his heroism has come to the fore and he was able to put his first aid skills, acquired in the Territorial Army, to good use.

Keen motorcyclist Mel, who then lived at Canham Close in Kimpton, was out on a run with fellow bikers on the A6 near its junction with Upper Gravenhurst when he saw a motorcyclist go under a road-sweeping vehicle.

He dived under the vehicle and used his t-shirt to staunch the blood pouring from his head.

John Farley saved the lives of two police officers when he pulled them out of their burning car in June 2007.

He also went to the aid of the driver of the other vehicle involved, Charlotte Edwards, of Netherfield Road, Harpenden, a pupil at St Albans High School, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

John, who lives in Stevenage, was driving his lorry along Stanborough Road in Welwyn Garden City when he saw the aftermath of a crash between a VW Polo and a police car.

The police car was on fire with both officers inside - one with a broken leg and the other a broken arm.

He dragged one officer out through the window then went back to the car, leant in and, keeping the officer's legs straight, he pulled him through the passenger window to safety.

Herts Assistant Chief Constable Alison Roome-Gifford, said he had shown himself not just to be community spirited but to have gone far beyond that by risking his own life to save the two police officers.

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