Car rescue hero tipped for award

Paul Surgeon
Paul Surgeon

A Kirkintilloch man who helped save the lives of crash victims trapped in a burning car is being recognised for his bravery.

Paul Surgeon (25) is on the short list for an award in the forthcoming STV series “RBS: Finding Scotland’s Real Heroes” for his role in a dramatic rescue on the Twechar to Kilsyth road in May, 2012.

He and another man, John Whiteford, witnessed a car leaving the road and smashing into a tree before it burstinto flames.

They immediately realised they were facing a desperate race against time.

John somehow managed to rip a car seat free while the vehicle burned – and badly injured his back in the process – and together with Paul managed to rescued Caitlin McKinlay, then aged 18, and Kirkintilloch man Gary Grant, who was 26.

Another passenger, Joanne McCormack, had managed to escape from the car but was shocked and confused.

The vehicle then exploded and was engulfed in flames just 15 seconds after the injured victims were brought to safety.

Gary was left paralysed from the chest down, while Caitlin initially needed a spinal brace.

Paul later said: “I feel honoured to know I helped save lives.

“It was an instinctive response to the situation by me and John. I certainly couldn’t have got Gary out alone.”

Paul is now one of three people shortlisted for a Scotland’s Real Heroes Courage Award on the show, which is to be presented by Carol Smillie.

Chris Wilson, managing director of branch and private banking in Scotland at Royal Bank of Scotland said: “Every person on the shortlist is a deserving winner.

“Everyone at the Royal Bank of Scotland is getting behind the series.”