Real life [email protected] honoured at castle for outstanding courage

A YOUNG man who tried to save a teenage girl set on fire by her boyfriend was honoured by the First Minister yesterday.

• Ricci Foreman tried to save Jessica McCagh who had been set on fire by her boyfriend in Arbroath. Picture: Dan Phillips

Ricci Foreman was among 50 people from across Scotland recognised for outstanding acts of bravery at Edinburgh Castle at a ceremony hosted by Alex Salmond.

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He was just 19 when he found 17-year-old neighbour Jessica McCagh "covered from head to toe in flames" inside her flat in Arbroath, Angus.

Tragically, Jessica died following the attack in April last year and her boyfriend, Stewart Blackburn, was later convicted of her murder after being found guilty of dousing her in petrol and setting her alight.

Jessica's father, Garry, had called for her neighbour to be recognised after the trial. Recalling his efforts, Mr Foreman said yesterday: "I heard an explosion and went to investigate, kicking the door down and finding Jessica on fire.

"After trying to douse the flames out with a fish tank, filling it over and over, I was unable to douse the flames. I then dragged Jessica out of the house to her family."

Mr Foreman, who collapsed from smoke inhalation, said he hoped that anyone else in his position would have done the same.

He also told how the passage of time was helping him deal with the traumatic event.

"I still remember it every day, but time's a healer," he said.

Schoolgirls Riah Holland and Kirsten Elder were honoured for saving the life of a women they spotted on the ledge of a bridge in Glenrothes, Fife.

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Riah, 15, clambered over railings to restrain the woman and stop her jumping more than 200 feet to her death while Kirsten, 16, alerted the emergency services.

Riah said: "She was sitting on a ledge when we spotted her, but I managed to climb over the railing, and hold on to her and talk to her, until the police arrived."

The schoolgirls, along with four other people, were presented with a new St Andrew's Award, in recognition of "exceptional bravery".

Alexander Cowan, 62, from Edinburgh, confronted a group of 20 youths who were attacking a young man in an underpass.

Strathclyde Police officer Steven Gilmour plunged into Adrossan harbour to rescue a man who had attempted to commit suicide, but was then spotted crying for help.

David Bruce, 16, was honoured after confronting a man and woman he caught burgling his family home in Dundee. He stood his ground despite the man holding a pair of scissors to his neck, threatening to kill him.

Canal lock-keeper Allan Grant, 51, from Nairn, saved the life of an 80-year-old woman who tripped and fell into the Caledonian Canal, at Fort Augustus.

Ellie Rye and Emma Stuart, both 12, from South Queensferry, were honoured for their part in saving the life of an elderly man whose kitchen was on fire.

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Mr Salmond, who unveiled plans for the new [email protected] Awards last month, said: "Scotland should be proud of its heroes and recognise their achievements.

"I am impressed and humbled by the heroism and selflessness of everyone who has been selected for a [email protected] Award. Their courage in the face of danger and concern for their fellow man is truly inspiring."