Heroic Stratford mum Rachael Martin who died in a traffic collision while saving her five-year-old daughter’s life in 2016, was honoured during an emotional ceremony in Stratford earlier this month.
As reported in last week’s Stratford Herald, around 65 of Rachael’s family and friends gathered at Stratford Town Hall as her children Keira, 7, and Leah, 9, and mum and dad Bill and Susan, were presented with special framed citations from the Carnegie Hero Fund.
The fund recognises those who have performed incredible acts of heroism, which sadly usually result in their death or serious injury.
Only around half a dozen people each year are recognised and their names and a description of their actions are added to the fund’s Book of Heroes, kept in Andrew Carnegie’s home town of Dunfermline.
Rachael died on 20th May 2016 after being struck by a car transporter on Western Road, an accident which also saw Keira suffer serious injuries, for which she has since undergone several operations.
However Rachael’s actions that day are believed to have saved her daughter’s life.
Paying a tearful tribute to her daughter during the ceremony, Susan said: “We will all treasure these certificates and I’m sure in the future Leah and Keira will hang them proudly in their homes and in turn their children will see that their grandma was a hero. We all miss Rachael terribly, the last two years have not been easy but we are so thankful that so many people have come here today.
“If Rachael was here now she would be a bit embarrassed about it all, she’d be asking what all the fuss was about.”
Bill added: “When I received the envelope from the Carnegie Hero Fund through the door saying they wanted to honour our daughter Rachael’s life it was a very emotional moment. I went upstairs and handed the letter to Susan, trying to hold back the tears.
“We know Rachael is a hero, Keira would not be here now if it was not for her.”
Bill went on to praise the Willows Primary School for the help and support they have given to Leah and Kiera.
During the ceremony Keira and Leah spoke about their memories of their mum, with Leah reminiscing about a family trip to Butlins and Keira describing her as ‘the best mum in the world.”
Stratford mayor Cllr Victoria Alcock, who presented the citations, said: “It is an honour to be here today as a fellow mum who knew Rachael, I have children of a similar age and bumped into her at baby groups. I’m wearing the hat she insisted I wore when I was bidding to be mayor of Stratford.”
David Walker, chairman of the Carnegie Hero Fund Trustees said: “Only 3-7 people are recognised each year with this honour and today we meet to remember Rachael and the heroism of this very special young woman. The Carnegie Hero Fund will continue to take an interest in Rachael’s family and we hope you will stay in contact with us.”
The first Carnegie Hero Fund was started in America by Scottish/American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1904, before its establishment in Britain in 1908.
The continuing aim of the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust UK is to recognise civilian heroism and give financial assistance, where necessary, to people who have been injured or to the dependants of people who have been killed in attempting to save another human life in peaceful pursuits.