Hero Mandy awarded national bravery gong

IPSWICH: A woman who rescued a nurse from a burning car today spoke of her immense pride after receiving one of the country's highest civilian bravery awards.

IPSWICH: A woman who rescued a nurse from a burning car today spoke of her immense pride after receiving one of the country's highest civilian bravery awards.

Mandy Gavin was presented with a Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal at Buckingham Palace for her role in saving the life of Clare Scarfe at the scene of a major crash.

Mother-of-two Mrs Scarfe watched on emotionally as Ms Gavin was presented with her award by the society's president Princess Alexandra, who personally approved the honour.

The pair, who have become best friends since the accident on the A1071 near Hadleigh, were joined by Suffolk police inspector Geoff Nunn, who help Ms Gavin pull Ms Scarfe from her Fiat Punto seconds before it exploded.

Insp Nunn was presented with a Testimonial on Parchment.

Ms Gavin, of Fritton Close, Ipswich, said: “It was a fantastic day. I feel really proud and I am so glad I was where I was at the time of the crash. I have got a lovely friend out of it.”

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Ms Gavin, 46, said she was nervous before the ceremony, but the princess put her at ease.

She said: “She was really down to earth. We talked about the places I had been travelling. We have both been on holiday to Anguilla in the West Indies.”

Mrs Scarfe, of Vale Lane, Kersey, has been confined to a wheelchair since the accident a year ago after suffering serious complications with a broken leg.

But the Ipswich Hospital nurse made a major step forward two weeks ago when she finally able to put her full weight on her leg.

Mrs Scarfe, 35, said: “I was really emotional watching Mandy and Geoff going up together to receive their awards. I had a tear.”

Peter Austin, 79, of Redhill Gate, Aldham, near Hadleigh, was given a year's driving ban and fined �1,250 for causing the crash after pleading guilty to driving without due care and attention and failing to stop.

Do you have any words of praise for Mandy Gavin? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk