The First Minister recognised more than 50 emergency service workers and members of the public were presented with Brave@Heart Awards recognising acts of bravery and heroism at Edinburgh Castle last night.

Police, fire and ambulance staff and other emergency responders were invited to nominate for the annual awards.

Of the 56 winners, nine were members of the public, three of whom also received the St Andrew’s Award for exceptional acts of bravery. One of these was Julie Foulner from Edinburgh who came to the help of a woman whose child had just been snatched by a relative, blocking his vehicle with her own car.

As Julie was driving home she became aware of a man standing at the side of the road watching a female and child.  At the junction she watched as the male grabbed the child by the wrists and pulled her away with some considerable force from the mother, who were both screaming.  He carried her towards a parked car.  Julie approached the male and tried to encourage him to return the child, but he ignored her and got in the car and drove off at speed.  Julie and the child’s mother then gave chase in her car, while the male drove at excessive speed, attempting to overtake dangerously with the child being thrown about in the rear seat.  As they followed Julie contacted the police using hands-free telephony and when he stopped the vehicle she pulled up alongside blocking his escape.  When she approached him again he turned aggressive and pushed her to the ground.  The police arrived and arrested the male.  

Julie’s quick thinking and decisive action helped the incident come to a satisfactory conclusion.

Speaking after presenting the awards at an event at Edinburgh Castle, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“These awards recognise acts of true courage by members of the public, our emergency services and our voluntary rescue organisations. They are our way of saying a very big thank you to individuals who, through their bravery, have made a very positive difference to Scotland.

“Every single one of tonight’s award winners provides an extraordinary story of courage and calmness under pressure. Their spirit of selflessness and bravery is an inspiring example to us all.”

Chief Inspector Andy Thomson, member of the Brave@Heart 2019 validation panel, said:“The panel were unanimously agreed that the nominations were all of a very high standard demonstrating selfless acts of courage and in a number of situations exceptional acts of bravery.”