Urban Hero Awards 2012: Courage Award
The Courage Award goes to Mark Collar.
A grandmother reunited with the young man who dragged her from a burning house has told him: “Thank you for saving my life.”Mark Collar risked his own safety by dashing into Val Brooks’ Gorton home to pull her from the flames. Val was treated by firefighters at the scene after breathing in smoke – but was otherwise unharmed. And now we have reunited the grandmother-of-one with Mark – giving her the chance to thank him for his bravery. She said: “I was really distressed and I can’t remember much of it. “But I know that Mark saved my life and I’m more than grateful – I wouldn’t be here without him.” Mark, 20, made the daring rescue when he was walking home from football practice at Wright Robinson College in Gorton. When he arrived on Melville Close, where Val lived, he noticed an acrid burning smell and saw smoke billowing from an upstairs window of her home. Mark, who lives in Openshaw, said: “When I got closer, I heard a woman shouting for help. “I went as close to the house as I could and asked the woman to come down. “She said she was trapped so I just booted the door in and went to get her. She was on the landing so I just got her down the stairs and outside.” Police investigated the possibility that the fire was arson but their inquiries were inconclusive. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but it was thought it started at the back door of the property. The house was so badly damaged by the smoke that Val, 51, has had to move to temporary accommodation in Longsight. Mark, who plays football for the Salvation Army and volunteers at the Salvation Army charity shop, shrugged off suggestions that he is a hero. He said: “I was a bit scared but it just felt right. I know I put myself at risk but if someone else is in danger then you have to help them. It was my civic duty.”