1. Home
  2. News
  3. Inspirational stories of courage in Civilian Gallantry List 2021

Inspirational stories of courage in Civilian Gallantry List 2021

Five police officers and three firefighters are among the 12 recipients unveiled in the most recent Civilian Gallantry List 2021 on Saturday 8th May for their acts of heroism.

The Queen’s Gallantry Medal is awarded to Police Sergeant Michael Hooper and Police Constable Stephen Quartermain for their attempted rescue of five people following a helicopter crash in Leicester in 2018. Tragically, the five passengers lost their lives but both officers put themselves at huge risk trying to save those onboard, sustaining serious injuries as the helicopter was engulfed by flames.

Police Sergeant Michael Hooper said:
“I feel incredibly honoured and proud to have been nominated for this award. Whilst it was extraordinary circumstances and something that no police officer would ever want to face in their entire career; I know that we only acted instinctively; how any other officer from across the country would have reacted.”

Police Constable Stephen Quartermain said:
“When I found out about the nomination I was shocked. It feels quite surreal, however I am honoured and humbled.”

Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, Simon Cole QPM, said:
“Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those who lost their lives on that tragic day at Leicester’s beloved football ground. Lots of people were very brave that day but both Mike and Steve showed true heroism; acting on their instincts and risking their own lives to try and save others. It is a great honour that they are being recognised in this way – an honour they both deserve. I am extremely proud of them and everyone who responded on the day and the days following the tragedy.”

Also receiving the Queen’s Gallantry Medal are Joel Snarr and Daniel Nicholson for their rescue of three passengers of a light aircraft which crashed after taking off from Abergavenny in Wales in 2019. Both men independently ran towards the burning plane, breaking a window to save all onboard before the plane was totally consumed by fire, with no injuries sustained.

Queen’s Gallantry Medal recipient Joel Snarr said:
“I am beyond words to have been considered for this award, it is a real honour to accept.”

Fellow recipient Daniel Nicholson said:
“I am extremely grateful to be nominated for such a prestigious award. It is an honour to be regarded in the same manner as previous QGM winners. My family and I are very proud. “

Cumbrian firefighter Stephen Wharton is among eight recipients of the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery Award for his rescue of a 13 year-old boy who was drowning in the River Eden in 2019. At great personal risk, Crew Manager Wharton removed the protective kit that was keeping him safe but preventing him from going under water to find the boy. He dived down to a depth of 2 to 3 metres, located the child and brought him to the surface where he was resuscitated after having been underwater for 20 minutes. The boy made a full recovery.

Gallantry awards are the only civilian honours in the UK honours system which can be awarded posthumously. This is the case for Maurice Wrightson, who sadly lost his life when the brakes stopped working on the coach he was driving in the French Alps in 2013. To avoid the coach, with 51 British passengers onboard, crashing into a ravine, Mr Wrightson chose to drive the coach into a boulder to save everyone but tragically lost his own life. The Queen’s Commendation for Bravery Award will be awarded to his next-of-kin on their behalf.

Find out more about Civilian Gallantry and how to nominate.