First Minister Nicola Sturgeon presents bravery awards

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Thirty-five people from blue-light services, voluntary sector rescue organisations and the general public have been presented with Brave@Heart Awards for recognised acts of bravery.

The First Minister presented the awards at a special event held at Edinburgh Castle. Of the 82 nominations, the independent validation panel selected 17 professionals and 18 members of the public to receive the awards.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is an honour to be able to present these awards to people who have shown extraordinary bravery.

“This ceremony is an opportunity for us to say thank you to those who put their lives at risk every day in their professional roles and to members of the public who have stepped in to help a fellow citizen in danger.

“Everyone who has been nominated for an award is a credit to Scotland and an inspiration to us all.”

Among the winners for the Brave@Heart Awards, Niall Blackburn and Geoff Maxwell also received the St Andrews Award for exceptional acts of bravery.

Niall Blackburn won the awards for pulling a man out of the water at Wemyss Bay Ferry Terminal and saving his life. Retained firefighter Geoff Maxwell won his awards for saving the life of a young girl who, with her father, had fallen into danger in the fast running waters of a river. Mr Maxwell rescued the girl and continued to assist with the emergency services throughout the operation.

Brave@Heart 2016 Panel chairperson, Lindsay Burley, said: “I’m proud to have chaired the judging panel for these awards for three years now. I continue to be amazed by the heroism demonstrated by all those nominated for an award.”

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