paramedic Michelle Ping was moved to tears when she was named reservist of the year for her bravery rescuing a wounded soldier while under Taliban fire in Afghanistan.
The 37-year-old, from Dungworth, won the title at The Sun-sponsored Military Awards, for climbing onto a roof under a hail of bullets to reach Highlander Craig Paterson, 22, who had been shot in the head.
The Royal Navy reservist, honoured at a ceremony in London’s Imperial War Museum attended by celebrities including David Beckham and Princes William and Harry, described her actions as “just doing my job”.
But, when called up from the audience to receive her accolade, accompanied by Craig’s girlfriend Louise Dalgarno, stunned Michelle held her face and cried.
The Able Seaman, who was handed her award by TV presenter Philip Schofield, works as a paramedic for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service in civilian life.
Today, she was returning to Sheffield and a celebration was being laid on for her at the Royal Hotel, Dungworth, to be attended by soldiers she served with, from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Dad Graham Ping, of Grimesthorpe, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant recognition.”
But details of her heroics surprised Graham and Michelle’s mum, Christine.
Graham said: “It was a shock when we heard she was going to Afghanistan, because she didn’t tell us straight away.
“We only found out about the rescue when she told us she had been nominated for the award - I don’t think she wanted to worry us.”