They are among a number of people who will be honoured at the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards
By Paul Turner
Two drivers who risked their lives to pull three family members from a plane crash are among the Welsh winners at this year’s Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards.
Daniel Nicholson and Joel Snarr, from Abergavenny and Cardiff respectively, will receive an Outstanding Bravery award after risking their lives pulling three people from the wreckage of a light aircraft after it crashed onto a main road near Abergavenny in May 2019 following engine trouble just after take-off.
The awards, which this year mark their 20th anniversary, will see a host of celebrities paying tribute to the nation’s unsung heroes, recognising and celebrating ordinary people up and down the country doing extraordinary things.
Hosted by Carol Vorderman, celebrities and public figures including Prince Charles, Robert Downey Jr, Dina Asher-Smith, Ant & Dec, Michael Sheen, Amanda Holden, Ryan Giggs, Michael Caine, and Jonathan Ross, as well as the judges and casts of Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor will be honouring this year’s winners.
It was May last year when Dan Nicholson was driving home with his son Giacomo, 15, when a light aircraft plummeted to the ground just 200 yards in front of them. The plane had suffered engine problems shortly after take-off, hit power lines and crashed into the central reservation of the A40 in Abergavenny.
With no thought for his own safety, Dan, 46, from Abergavenny, leapt from his car and ran towards the burning wreckage. Trapped inside were teenage brother and sister Jack Moore and Billie Manley, and their uncle, the pilot Stuart Moore.
Dan tried to smash the front window but could not break the glass. Noticing a crack in the rear window he began to kick at it; at the same time he could see Billie was also kicking from the inside. Eventually the window smashed and Dan pulled Billie, 16, from the smoke-filled cabin.
At that point Joel Snarr, a former army officer from Cardiff, ran from his car to help. Joel, 35, helped Dan get Jack, 19, out the wreckage.
Joel grabbed the pilot by the arms and pulled him free. Joel had been medically discharged from the army with post traumatic stress disorder that year, after serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland. Dan and Joel managed to pull all three from the plane minutes before it was completely engulfed in flames.
Also being honoured at the awards is seven-year-old Jaydee-Lee.
She came home excited about what she’d learnt that day when Wales and West Utilities visited her school in Merthyr to give a lesson on gas safety.
Three weeks later, Jaydee-Lee went to bed as usual but woke in the middle of the night to find her younger brother, Laylan, four, acting strangely. Mum Lindy thought he was just sleepwalking, but Jaydee-Lee had learned about the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and noticed the flickering of a red light.
The light on the family’s carbon monoxide detector had turned from green to red, but with no alarm sounding. Jaydee-Lee took control of the situation and even remembered the gas emergency number – 0800 111 999 – for her mum to dial.
The family were told to open all the windows and doors and go downstairs until emergency engineer Sean Ward came to help. Without Jaydee-Lee’s quick thinking, her family would have been among the 50 people killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK this year.
An inspirational surfer from Swansea who has given hundreds of disabled people the chance to experience the sport he loves is another person being honoured at the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards.
Ben Clifford set up Surfability UK at Caswell Bay in 2013 as part of a mission to shatter the belief that disabled people can’t surf. After six years, the charity now supports more than 500 people.
If someone arrives at Surfability, the UK’s first fully inclusive surf school, with a disability he has not seen before, he researches their condition and even invents new kit, such as the UK’s first seated tandem surfboard for people who cannot sit up. It means nobody misses out.
Ben is now a world-leader in new teaching methods and safety techniques, working with the International Surfing Association to develop standards for adaptive surfing. Raised in inner-city Bristol, he has dyspraxia which affected not only his balance and coordination, but also his self-esteem growing up.
He went to university in Swansea, within reach of the ideal surf conditions of Gower. After graduating, he qualified as a lifeguard and surf instructor, and Surfability UK came after he was invited to volunteer at a surf session in Devon for children with autism, and felt like more needed to be done.
Host of the Pride Of Britain Awards, Carol Vorderman, said: “Pride of Britain is such a huge part of my life, it’s hard to believe it’s 20 years since we first started. In that time, it has found a place at the heart of British life, and the winners represent the very best of us. I never fail to be humbled by them, and this year’s are no different.”
The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards will be broadcast on ITV on November 5 at 8pm. Find out more about the Pride of Britain Awards 2019 via: www.prideofbritain.com