Off duty police officer saved man from an exploding fireball

A POLICEMAN who risked his life to drag a Newport man from a blazing, overturned car less than a minute before it exploded into a fireball has been awarded one of the country’s top bravery honours by Royal Approval.

PC Matthew Hammill, from Suffolk police, is to receive a Royal Humane Society Testimonial on Vellum personally approved and signed by the Society’s President, Princess Alexandra, for saving the life of Stuart MacFarlane on April 22.

And, in addition to the award he is to receive, PC Hammill also he won the personal praise of the society’s secretary, Dick Wilkinson.

Speaking at its London headquarters, he said that PC Hammill was off duty and travelling along the Eastbound carriageway of the A14 near Bury St Edmunds when he saw an overturned vehicle on fire in the opposite carriageway.

He continued: “He doubled back and stopped, asking members of the public present if there was anyone in the vehicle.

“Having been told that the driver had left the scene and the car was empty, he then moved the people present to a safe distance and went to carry out a check on the car.

“It was at this stage he spotted Mr MacFarlane in the rear passenger side window, who had not been visible earlier.

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“He ran over, managed to pull him out of the window by his arm and then dragged him to a safe distance. The car then exploded within a minute of him doing this.

“If he had been seconds later there is no doubt that PC Hammill and Mr MacFarlane could both have been killed. PC Hammill risked life in approaching this blazing vehicle.

“His actions were selfless and courageous, and without doubt saved he saved Mr MacFarlane’s life. He is a credit to the force and richly deserves this award.”

No date has yet been fixed for the presentation of the award, made on the recommendation of Suffolk Police.

More to follow.