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Royal bravery honour for Beck Row hero of Fornham crash

The wreckage from the Fornham St Genevie crash for which Thomas Lanarch received a Royal Humane Society award
The wreckage from the Fornham St Genevie crash for which Thomas Lanarch received a Royal Humane Society award

A Beck Row road crash hero, who spent four days in hospital after saving a man from a blazing Transit van, has been awarded a top national bravery honour by Royal approval.

Thomas Lanarch, 30, of The Presidents, hardly hesitated when he reached the scene of the crash between the van and the car on the B1106 at Fornham St Genevie on June 4, 2015.

Despite the flames and the danger of an explosion he went to the van and fought to open the door which had been damaged in the crash. It took three men to free the driver.

But the passenger was complaining of back pain and Thomas, who worked on oil rigs and has had rescue and first aid training, decided because of that he should not move him. Instead he covered himself and the man with a blanket as protection from the heat.

But as the heat became more intense, he decided that the risk to the man if he stayed in the vehicle outweighed the risk of further injury if he was pulled from the vehicle. As a result Thomas dragged him from the van and to safety as the van was totally destroyed by the fire.

The driver was only in hospital overnight but Thomas, who suffered breathing difficulties was kept in for four days.

Now he has been awarded a Royal Humane Society testimonial on vellum, personally approved and signed by Princess Alexandra, the Society’s president.

Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the Royal Humane Society said : “It takes enormous courage to approach a vehicle which is on fire. You never know whether it will explode. But Thomas didn’t hesitate or think of his own safety. He went straight in and as a result the man, who could well have been burned to death was rescued. He showed true courage in what he did.”

At the time Thomas told the Bury Free Press: “The whole thing became engulfed in flames, the tyres were exploding and I could see the hedgerow catching fire.”

He also praised others who helped saying: “If it was just me there, I never would have got them both out in time.”

No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the award, which has been made on the recommendation of Suffolk Police, but it is expected to take place in the near future.

The 200-year-old Royal Humane Society is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.

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