Posthumous bravery award for Northumberland coach driver who saved his passengers
A coach driver who died in the French Alps saving his passengers has received a posthumous Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.
The Duchess of Northumberland, in her capacity as Lord-Lieutenant of Northumberland, visited Ashington to present the award to Hannah Crackett for the bravery of her late son Maurice Wrightson.
In 2013, Mr Wrightson was driving a coach of 51 passengers in the French Alps when the brakes on the coach he was driving failed.
On a very steep mountainous road approaching a hairpin-bend, Mr Wrightson made an immediate decision to crash the coach into rocks on the other side of the bend rather than risk the coach failing to take the bend and tipping into the ravine alongside the road.
When it hit the boulders, the coach burst into flames and while some passengers received serious injuries, his actions saved the lives of all the passengers on board.
Tragically Mr Wrightson sadly lost his own life in the accident.
Her Grace, the Duchess of Northumberland said: “This award gives national recognition to acts of great bravery in the face of grave danger and is only given out in exceptional circumstances.
“Tragically Maurice’s heroic actions meant he lost his own life, but without a doubt his swift and selfless actions helped to save the lives of so many others.
“I’m deeply honoured to be able to have presented Hannah, Maurice’s mother with his award and to show his act of incredible bravery has not been forgotten.”
The award was presented after Mrs Liz Fullarton a fellow driver, and Tony Brown, the senior coroner of North Northumberland wrote to Her Majesty the Queen.