A HERO van driver who has repeatedly risked his life to rescue crash victims trapped in mangled wreckages has been awarded for his bravery.

John Barter, from Shrivenham near Faringdon, has pulled injured victims from potentially explosive crash scenes, smashed windscreens to get to trapped drivers and crawled inside crushed cars to reassure the injured.

On four separate occasions the 58-year-old driver for online supermarket Ocado has stumbled across collisions while out on the roads and has even been dubbed ‘a veteran of crash scenes’ by colleagues.

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Speaking of his heroics, Mr Barter said: “It just feels like the natural thing to do; my first aid training and road experience means I can help people in need and that is a great satisfaction to me.

“It was a great privilege to be able to help these individuals when they needed it most.”

He added: “I try to remember what I learnt in my first aid training and think how to apply it to this scene – I find it all comes back to me when I need it most.”

In one instance, Mr Barter crawled his way into the wreckage of a car crash in Stanford in the Vale in 2017, near Faringdon, to reach the driver.

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He checked the driver and provided reassurance while emergency services arrived.

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In another incident, the heroic driver came across an overturned lorry in Watchfield, near Faringdon, and smashed the windscreen to ensure paramedics could reach the victim.

Further heroics saw Mr Barter drag an injured woman from her car after a crash when her petrol tank burst along the M6 motorway, as well as helping with first aid during a coach crash.

His actions have now bagged him the title ‘Hero of the Year’ and his was handed an award at the Freight Transport Association (FTA) 2018 Van Excellence Honours.

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FTA head of vans and light commercial vehicles Mark Cartwright said: “The Hero of the Year award celebrates the individual who went above and beyond the call of duty to help their colleagues or wider community; the driver who showed unbelievable courage, leadership and kindness in the face of adversity and crisis.

“And John Barter, who has consistently shown unwavering bravery, embodies these values.”

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Mr Barter was handed the accolade at a ceremony on February 7.

He said: “I love van driving and I am so honoured my colleagues nominated me for this award.”

The awards, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz vans, AA, Bott, Brigade Electronics, Hertz, Lex Autolease and Quartix, were presented at the Van Excellence Honours Lunch at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Birmingham.

The awards hope to promote the safe operation of vans and celebrate excellent standards.