Stirling Observer

Honour for Great Scot Jim

- Chris Marzella

A Dunblane firefighte­r who helped save the lives of thousands of desperate refugees by plucking them from the Mediterran­ean has won a top bravery award.

Watch manager, Jim Snedden (48), has been named as the Sunday Mail’s Great Scot 2017.

Dad-of-three, Jim scooped the top award after he spent three weeks last summer in Malta working with the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) charity helping refugees trying to cross the Mediterran­ean in flimsy dinghies.

Jim, who also serves as a water rescue instructor for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, put his skills to the test during the rescue mission.

He decided to undertake the mission after seeing images of a three-year-old Syrian refugee whose body was washed up on a Turkish beach.

Jim said: At first, it was quite difficult for me as a parent to understand how anybody would put their kids at risk like that but, after going out there, I soon realised that risking their lives trying to get into Europe was far safer than staying at home where they faced torture, kidnap and rape.

“I’m still haunted by the memories. I constantly think about the desperate souls on those boats.

Brave Jim has already enlisted to lend his services for the charity once again and is awaiting a call to leap in to action.

He said:“I just want to do as much as I can to help with what has become one of the biggest humanitari­an crises of our time.”

Humble Jim was crowned as the overall Great Scot and was also listed as one of four‘Unsung Heroes’.

At the annual awards ceremony in Glasgow, Jim received a standing ovation when he picked up the award from athlete’s Eilidh Doyle and Zoey Clark.

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