Carer honoured for saving Beeston woman in fatal house fire
A CARE worker who fought to save a wartime RAF hero from his burning home has been awarded a national bravery honour.
Former Squadron Leader Anthony Weller, 86, died from burns suffered in the fire during the early hours of August 16.
Carer Frankie Hannah, 21, tried in vain to save him but managed to save his wife Joyce.
Miss Hannah was awarded a Royal Humane Society testimonial on parchment for braving the fire.
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Since May she had worked for Athena Care Ltd as a live-in carer for the couple at their home in Kendal Drive, Beeston.
She said she was pleased to have been recognised for her actions but missed Mr Weller.
"That night is all a bit of a blur to me now," she said.
"I just did what any good person would do. I was woken up by Joyce shouting at about 2am and rushed in to see what was wrong.
"Joyce was standing near the fire which had broken out in the bathroom because of an extractor fan. I made sure she was safely out of the house. Tony was still asleep in his bed and my intention was to go back in and get him, but once I had opened the door and let the cold air in it was almost impossible because of the smoke."
Miss Hannah, who now lives with Joyce, 88, and her daughter Melissa, 50, in South Yorkshire, said she acted automatically but felt guilty that she couldn't save Tony.
She said: "I had grown very close to Tony over the months. He was a lovely man. He was very brave himself, having fought in the RAF as a squadron leader in the Korean war. I wish I could have saved him too.
"I'm grateful for my awards, this one and the Great British Care award for putting people first, but I would swap them any day to have Tony back."
Eight members of the fire service equipped with breathing apparatus entered the house and got Mr Weller out.
He and his wife were taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Mr Weller, who was badly burned, died in hospital later.
Miss Hannah was praised for her courage by Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the Royal Humane Society.
Speaking at the society's London headquarters yesterday, he said : "Anyone who goes into a blazing building risks their life. Sadly Miss Hannah did not manage to save Mr Weller as well as his wife from the blaze but she richly deserves the award."
Miss Hannah's name was put forward for the awards by Athena Care Ltd.
No date has yet been fixed for the presentation of the award but it is expected to take place in the near future.