Couple honoured for rescuing people trapped in burning car

A couple who rushed to rescue people trapped in a burning car have been honoured for their bravery.

Theresa Cosgrove, 27, and John Moore, 37, were handed special awards by the Duke of Cambridge in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Thursday,

The pair were the first to respond to a collision between a motorcycle and a car in Elstree, Hertfordshire, in June 2014.

The collision sent the motorcyclist head-first into the car and ignited the bike’s fuel tank.

Ms Cosgrove and Mr Moore battled through mounting flames to pull the injured driver and the motorcyclist away from the crash.

They said William was quick to check on their welfare when he presented Mr Moore with a Queen’s Gallantry Medal and Ms Cosgrove with a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.

“He made sure that we were all right and didn’t have any flashbacks. He just asked us how we were doing,” Mr Moore said.

“He made sure we had people to talk to about it as well, which was very kind of him,” Ms Cosgrove added.

John Moore and Theresa Cosgrove are honoured by William
John Moore and Theresa Cosgrove are honoured by William

Mr Moore spent 24 hours in a burns unit after his life-saving efforts left him with injuries to his face.

The couple, who now have two young daughters, said witnessing the crash had felt like “slow motion”, but they wasted no time in running towards the burning car.

“Obviously we were aware of the fire, it was a convertible and there were flames coming over the windscreen as I’m climbing in to get to the door, but at the time you’re not really seeing that, you’re just seeing people,” Mr Moore said.

After pulling the motorcyclist away Ms Cosgrove put out flames on his leg with her hands, while Mr Moore battled to free the driver from her seatbelt.

“I remember grabbing her arm and it was melting, I had to let go,” Mr Moore said.

Both admitted feeling “excited” and “proud” to receive their honours, mixed with sadness that motorcyclist Joe Paul died from his injuries. The car driver survived the crash.

“I kind of feel guilty feeling proud we couldn’t save Joe,” Mr Moore admitted.

The pair, who live in Grantham, have since built a relationship with Mr Paul’s parents, being invited to his funeral and the annual celebration of his birthday.

“One thing they said that will never leave me is they thanked us for allowing them to say goodbye to their son,” Ms Cosgrove said.

The couple said it was “lucky” they were able to respond so quickly to the crash, and they were surprised to be handed another honour after receiving awards from the Royal Humane Society last year.

“It’s just two people who did what they did in the heat of the moment,” Ms Cosgrove said.

They revealed Ms Cosgrove was due to be presented with her latest award on a different day, but for the intervention of the Queen.

She said: “The Queen, seeing that we acted together, she wanted us to receive our awards together today, hearing that was a bit emotional.”

The couple are due to get married in May and their third child is due in April.

Gary Wilmot with his MBE
Gary Wilmot with his MBE

They were honoured at the palace alongside Mobo awards founder Kanya King, actor and entertainer Gary Wilmot, Kathryn Halford, who cared for some of the UK’s first Aids and HIV patients, and Michael Haines, who has campaigned for unity and tolerance following his brother’s murder by Islamic State in Syria.