Brave delivery driver who rescued stranger from burning truck named 2021 Scottish champion


He crawled into the burning cab of a wrecked truck, risking his own life to save the life of a stranger trapped inside.

Ignoring the raging flames and thick smoke, Lee Metcalf transported the driver to safety – an act of extraordinary bravery that saw him named our 2021 overall Scottish champion last night.

The 46-year-old’s award was just one of the highlights of a breathtaking evening which also saw Liverpool and Scotland footballer Andy Robertson surprise our trio of Little Champions with an incredible trip to Lapland to meet Santa.

There was a standing ovation for delivery driver Lee, from Edinburgh, who stopped his van and crossed six lanes of the motorway after seeing a truck crash and ignite on the opposite roadway.

The unpretentious dad, stunned by the reactions at last night’s awards show, said: “I wouldn’t exactly call myself a hero, I just did what I thought was right. I would like to think that if I found myself in this situation, someone would be there to do the same for me.

Lee was driving along the M74 near Abington, Lanarkshire on March 22 when he spotted the burning vehicle.

The cattle truck had overturned, slid along the road and ignited – trapping the driver inside the cabin, which was on and within minutes of exploding.

Lee was driving along the M74 near Abington, Lanarkshire on March 22 when he spotted the burning vehicle

Lee pulled into the emergency lane, avoided traffic by crossing six lanes, and climbed into the cab of the overturned vehicle to pull the affected driver through the door.

Lee, who was also named Outstanding Bravery Champion, said, “I just had to act quickly as soon as I saw what was going on. I haven’t thought twice about it. It was obvious. I was there and had to help.

“All I remember thinking at that point was, ‘Oh my God, I just need to get him out quick. “The truck was already on fire and it was going to explode.

“It really was a time in the right place at the right time and I’m so relieved that I got there on time. But the main thing is he’s okay now.”

It was an emotional highlight for our Scotland’s Champions Awards, which bring together two long-running Sunday Mail and Daily Record campaigns – the Great Scot Awards and Our Heroes.

One of the biggest applause of the evening went to our little champions, who received a special video message from Andy Robertson, who was so moved by their bravery that he wanted to do something very special for them .

To the audience gasps of joy, the footballer said: “Congratulations Jack, Mila and Zac – you are all super brave and truly the little champions of life. I want to share a big surprise with all of you.

“To celebrate your bravery, the AR 26 charity and our great friends at Stewart Travel are all taking you to Lapland to meet another great friend of mine – Santa Claus. Make sure I’m on the right list and that I have the best time of my life. “

The courage shown by leukemia fighter Mila Sneddon, five, Jack Irvine, nine, who helped save his father’s life after a bad fall, and Zac Gunn, three, who needs a life-saving lung transplant has moved many to tears.

With our title sponsor Utilita, we paid tribute to ordinary Scots doing extraordinary things as well as stars in sports, entertainment and music.

But the night at Glasgow’s DoubleTree by Hilton hotel belonged to unsung heroes, whose selfless work has been described as “truly inspiring” by our judges, led by former Prime Minister Lord Jack McConnell.

Boots & Beards Community Champion and Jean’s Bothy Community Project of the Year received a warm welcome as they took the stage for our scintillating ceremony hosted by TV favorite Jackie Bird and comedian Des Clarke.

Deputy Chief NCO John Miller, 52, was hailed by our Military and Emergency Services Champion for his bravery in speaking out on the trauma of the loss of his young son and creating the first formal mental health strategy of Scottish Fire and Rescue to train staff to detect signs of depression. and PTSD.

Police dog Remo, who had his jaw smashed as he took on a vicious thug with his PC partner Paul O’Donnell, was surprised with a special Highly Commended award in the same category.

Hospice nurse Gillian McNab, 51, who refuses to drop her Huntington’s disease diagnosis and has raised over £ 14,200 for charity through skydiving, wing walking and a host of others adventures, was named our first Compassionate Champion.

Amazing moms Jennifer Gill, 36, and Tanya Ross, 41, who raised £ 1million in memory of their sons Oliver and Harris, won the Making a Difference award, voted on by thousands of our readers.

Jackie Bird with Lee Metcalf

Sea-singing sensation Nathan Evans was crowned entertainment champion, while big-hearted music legend and Band Aid founder Midge Ure, 68, received a deafening applause when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from fellow philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter.

The undisputed welterweight world champion – The Tartan Tornado, Josh Taylor, 30 – has been named our 2021 athletic champion.

Over 300 guests, including famous sports and showbiz personalities, joined us in saluting our heroes. Wrestler Jack Jester,
STV presenter Kelly-Ann Woodland, actor Iain Robertson and the cast of River City were among the stars in attendance.

Singer Kyle Falconer, founder of the Mercury Prize nominated group The View, raised the roof with a performance of songs from his new album No Love Songs For Laura, while radio star and Sunday Mail columnist Garry Spence hosted a nightclub at the after-party. .

Sunday Mail Editor-in-Chief Lorna Hughes said: “Extraordinary people rarely think they’ve done something extraordinary. They are not looking for attention, but what they do changes and transforms the lives of others, whether it is through a simple act or through a lifetime’s work.

“The courage, dedication and sheer determination of these unsung heroes make them champions of Scotland. “

Bill Bullen, CEO of Utilita Energy, said, “If there was ever a time we needed unsung heroes, it’s now.

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