Former Student Bravery Award

Former Northfield student Callum Bennett recently received an award for his bravery when he helped rescue strangers from a burning building. 

THREE heroes from Oxfordshire who saved strangers from burning buildings have had their bravery recognised.
Callum Bennett, 19, and Liam Harris, 21, dragged a woman from a blazing flat in Oxford in March. They were given Commendations for Bravery by Chief Fire Officer Dave Etheridge.
They were joined at the ceremony at fire service headquarters in Kidlington on Thursday by postman Tony Rendell, 56, who saved a man from a burning house near Thame in July. His story was featured in the Oxford Mail.
Sutton Courtenay resident Mr Harris played down his heroic actions, saying he believed anyone else would have done the same.
He and Mr Bennett, who lives in Didcot, were working together for Drayton Construction on roadworks in London Road, Headington, when the drama unfolded on Sunday, March 8.
The pals had just finished work for the day and were driving home at about 5pm towards the Headington Roundabout when they noticed smoke coming from a block of flats in Colemans Hill.
Mr Harris said: “Suddenly we wondered what on earth was going on. We saw black smoke coming out so we pulled over. We could see there were bins on fire and the flames had reached the flats. We just started shouting and alerting people.” The pair started to evacuate the homes near the blaze and Mr Harris called the fire service.
But they were alerted by the screams of a woman trapped inside the flat directly above the burning bins.
Former Northfield School pupil Mr Bennett said: “She was trapped behind the security door and every time she opened it the flames would go inside.
“She kept opening it, screaming and then slamming it shut.
“We just opened the door as fast as we could, grabbed her and threw her out. It was a bit of a 10-second rush, it happened so fast.
“We knew we could have been hurt but we just thought we had to get in there and help her.”
The woman was whisked off to hospital and Mr Harris and Mr Bennett have not seen her since.
Mr Bennett said: “It is quite sad, it would have been nice to see her again.
“By the end of it it was as if we had known her our whole lives.”
Both men said they were shocked when they got letters a few weeks ago to tell them they had been nominated for the bravery awards.
Mr Bennett said: “My girlfriend and my mum were really happy.
“It was good that Liam was there at the fire because I would not have been able to do it by myself.”
Mr Harris, a former pupil of John Mason School, said: “It was nice to get the recognition but I am sure anyone would have done it. All my family and friends were very surprised – it was not your average Sunday.”
Grandfather Tony Rendell was given his bravery commendation for dragging a man out of a smoke-filled kitchen in Thame.
The postman, out on his usual round on Thursday, July 16, in Kingston Blount when he heard an alarm going off, rushed into the house and pulled the man out.
 
He said: “Thursday was a fantastic evening and a real honour to receive the award. My partner was there with me and she was nearly in tears.”
Mr Rendell spoke to the wife of the man he pulled to safety.
“She said she was over the moon and gave me a nice card.
“It had £20 in it. She said the least she could do was get me a drink. The whole evening was fantastic.”
The awards ceremony also featured 20 fire service staff receiving 20-year long service and good conduct medals. Tony Nichols was named apprentice of the year.
Mr Etheridge said: “These three set aside their own safety and saved the lives of fellow human beings.
“In this world of doom and gloom, it is a privilege when I meet people like these three extraordinary people.
 “When you hear about their selfless acts which have saved a life, presenting these commendations renews my spirit in mankind.”
 
 
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