Three men who rescued a Tartaraghan pensioner from her sinking car have been honoured with a Mayor’s bravery award.
Robert Best, Ryan Cummins and Glen Martin spent an evening at the Civic Centre with the Mayor, Councillor Colin McCusker and 82-year-old Evelyn Millar, whose life they saved.
The men were presented with framed commendation certificates for ‘Bravery at the River Bann’ while Mrs Millar received a bouquet of flowers.
Mrs Millar’s frightening ordeal began last November when she returned to her car after a day out with friends. She had parked in Shillington’s car park, close to the swollen river, but when she began to drive off, she found the car carried away down the slipway into the river.
The great-grandmother, who cannot swim, was trapped in the driving seat, up to her chin in water, before she managed to escape through a window and cling on to a bollard.
Her screams were heard by the men who worked together to wade in and pull her from the icy river.
Avril Benson, Mrs Millar’s daughter, said at the time that her mother’s fitness and quick-thinking had enabled her to survive the ordeal.
The Mayor said, “I was absolutely delighted to hold this recognition event for Robert, Ryan and Glen as their quick thinking and selfless actions on that fateful day saved a precious life.
“It is men like these who deserve such recognition to highlight the great people that we have living within our borough. Without a thought for themselves they jumped into action to save Mrs Millar and I am so glad to have been able to bring them together for an evening. My heartfelt thanks go out to them once again for their bravery.”
Robert Best attended the evening with his wife and two young children while Mrs Millar was accompanied by her daughter, Irene Webb.
Mrs Millar, who has made a full recovery since the incident, said she was delighted to see the men receiving the awards.
She said she is still thankful that she had the presence of mind to open the window, before the electrics went, and scramble out.
“I wouldn’t have been able to get out once the car sank,” she said.
Mrs Millar would like to see safety measures put in place at the slipway - even if it’s just a chain. She said, “I wouldn’t like anybody else to go through what I did.”
A council spokesperson said that once the riverside project is completed, the council will be looking at appropriate safety measures at times of high water.