We’re so proud of our colleague Will Edwards who has picked up the Pride of Britain Award for Outstanding Bravery at a star-studded event to celebrate the nation’s unsung heroes.
Will, from our Wrexham store, saved the life of 73-year-old Anne Wade when he pulled her from her blazing car on the M60 near Manchester.
Anne was trapped in her car when Will risked his own life by smashing a window with a wheel brace and reaching in to open the door and pull her from the flames.
He severed tendons in his arm in the rescue and the two ended up in the same ward at Salford Royal Hospital, with Anne being treated for the effects of smoke inhalation. When the two had recovered and were reunited at our Wrexham store Anne said Will had been “like an angel from heaven”.
Will was presented with his award by Ed Balls and, surrounded by the entire Strictly cast, gave a thank you speech in front of hundreds of celebrities, dignitaries and other winners.
Will, who’s 24, said: "I’m sure I’ll be getting lots of questions about it all when I get back to work. Everyone at the store has been really supportive and are really proud of me – they’re over the moon for me.
“It was a fantastic, amazing experience. My name was called out and then the whole Strictly cast came on from both sides of the stage.
“Ed gave me the award and said ‘You should be very proud of what you did’.
“I’m not going to lie, giving a speech on the stage in front of hundreds of celebrities was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life. I was shaking.
“When people realised why I was there they started coming up to speak to me, congratulate me and hear my story.
“I met all sorts of famous people. As well as the Strictly cast, who were fantastic, I also met Olly Murs, Richard Hammond, Freddie Flintoff, Jamie Redknapp, Jamelia and the cast of Hollyoaks.”
Will received a phone call last week telling him he had won the award and inviting him to the ceremony. He travelled to London with his girlfriend Sian, dad Paul and mum Diane.
He said: “I feel like I’ve been a celebrity for a week. I wouldn’t recommend it – it’s hectic!”
On the day of the fire, 73-year-old Anne’s car was almost fully ablaze when the car Will was in pulled up behind it. The electrics had failed meaning the doors were locked and Anne was trapped, so Will tried to break the driver’s side window with his arm.
This failed so he got a wheel brace and smashed the window, unlocked the door and pulled her out, cutting his arm open in the process.
They both recovered and were reunited at the store in March, where Anne got the chance to thank Will for saving her life.
When they met up for the first time since the fire, Anne said: "I realised I couldn’t get out, and was going to call the emergency services but I knew they wouldn’t get to me in time, so I thought ‘I’ve had it’.
“Then I heard Will knocking on the window – he was like an angel from heaven.
“What can you say about someone who has saved your life? Thank you is not enough. He is amazing, very very brave, and deserves every accolade and award he gets. I will be grateful to him for the rest of my life.”
Will also received a bravery award from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service earlier this year.
The glittering Pride of Britain event, held at Grosvenor House in London and presented by Carol Vorderman, is sponsored by the Daily Mirror and TSB.