Trio who pulled men from burning wreckage of car are rewarded

HEROES: From left, Joanne and Brian Keane and Andrew Bilton, receive the Queen's commendations for bravery. Presenting are Lord-Lieutenant Valerie Pitt-Rivers, right, chief constable Debbie Simpson and assistant chief fire officer Colin Chapman

HEROES: From left, Joanne and Brian Keane and Andrew Bilton, receive the Queen's commendations for bravery. Presenting are Lord-Lieutenant Valerie Pitt-Rivers, right, chief constable Debbie Simpson and assistant chief fire officer Colin Chapman

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A BRAVE trio of lifesavers who didn’t think twice when they pulled two men from the burning wreckage of a car crash have been honoured.

Andrew Bilton and husband and wife Brian and Joanne Keane from Dorchester were presented with the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in a special ceremony yesterday.

Proud family and friends gathered to hear how the lifesavers intervened when they came across the scene of the crash on the West Stafford bypass last June.

Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset Mrs Valerie Pitt-Rivers, who presented the awards alongside police chief constable Debbie Simpson and assistant chief fire officer Colin Chapman, called the heroes ‘three very remarkable and courageous people’.

She said they had given the two drivers the ‘greatest gift anyone could receive – the gift of life’.

Mrs Pitt-Rivers added: “We all spend so much time in our cars and I am sure we dread being the first person on the scene of a minor crash.

“So it’s difficult to imagine how you three must have felt arriving at the scene of a crash like this.”

Mr and Mrs Keane were the first on the scene of the accident on June 23 and managed to get one of the drivers out of his car.

Andrew Bilton then appeared and he and Mr Keane attempted to get the second driver out of his vehicle.

This proved difficult because both doors were jammed shut and smoke from the other car had begun to turn to flames, which spread to the car they were working on.

Refusing to give up, Brian Keane managed to get the back door open, climbed inside and opened the driver’s door.

He and Mr Bilton pulled the driver to safety and Mrs Keane administered first aid.

Emotions ran high at yesterday’s ceremony as the three re-lived their heroic deed.

But all said without hesitation that they would act the same way again.

Mrs Keane said: “I am very proud and I am very proud of my husband. When things like that happen you just react, there’s not much time to think, you just have to do it.”

Comments (1)

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10:43am Tue 21 Jan 14

IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE says...

Echo says 'Andrew Bilton and husband and wife Brian and Joanne Keane from Dorchester'

Doesn't make sense to me - work experience at the newsdesk- again?
Echo says 'Andrew Bilton and husband and wife Brian and Joanne Keane from Dorchester' Doesn't make sense to me - work experience at the newsdesk- again? IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE
  • Score: -6

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