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Barry Gourlay
Barry Gourlay

Two men from the East Neuk of Fife have been recognised for their brave actions after receiving a St Andrew’s Day Award .

Police Sergeant Roy Giles (50) and Anstruther Lifeboat inshore helmsman Barry Gourlay (32) were both presented with the special award at the ceremony held in Edinburgh last Wednesday.

The St Andrew’s Day Awards, now in their fourth year, recognise the extraordinary bravery of people living in Scotland.

Barry and Roy’s heroic actions, along with those of four others, helped to save the lives of six people.

Speaking to the Mail, Roy, from Cellardyke, said it was “lovely” to have received the award.

During the early hours of May 29, 2012, Roy was the first officer on the scene after Police received reports of a man walking into the sea at Anstruther. While waiting for the lifeboat to arrive, Roy tried to reassure the man, but he responded by swimming out further, eventually getting into difficulty. Realising his life was in danger, Roy swam after the man, bringing him ashore and saving his life.

Roy said: “It’s a lovely feeling to have been recognised in this way, but it’s not really something you consider at the time (of the incident).

“You just make a decision at the time, and I realised the man was at risk - it’s definitely instinct.”

Commenting on the ceremony, Roy added: “It was a lovely day, quite intimate, and the best part of it was meeting the others who had received the award as well.”

The six winners were chosen from among 21 people who received the First Minister’s Brave@Heart awards.

Barry Gourlay from Anstruther was also commended with a medal. On August 1, 2012, he took the helm of the Anstruther Lifeboat which was responding to a distress call from a boat which had been driven into rocks by 2.5 metre waves. He put together a rescue plan which ended up saving the lives of both people on board the stricken vessel.

Barry noted that it was a great honour to have received the award… “It’s great for the whole Anstruther Lifeboat team. It’s what we’re trained for, although that night was a bit different, a bit trickier of the dark and the weather conditions. It was a great feeling though, and great to catch up with some of the people I met at the Brave@Heart awards.”