Hastings Red Cross volunteer honoured after helping victim at Shoreham Airshow disaster

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

A volunteer has been presented with an award after helping a badly burnt man at last year’s Shoreham Airshow disaster.

Terry Alexander, a part-time tutor at Horizons Community Learning CIC and a Red Cross ambulance crew volunteer from Hastings, treated 23-year-old Thomas Millburn after he was engulfed by flames.

He had cycled along the A27 to take pictures of the airshow last August when the vintage Hawker Hunter jet hit the road.

Small bits of debris hit him on the back and leg after he instinctively turned away from the impact of the crash and threw himself down on his front. Thomas was treated by Terry, who along with a colleague, cooled his burns and covered them to prevent infection. They stayed with him for two hours, as ambulances could not access the site during the immediate aftermath of the crash.

Terry was recently presented with a Lifetime award at the More Hastings Radio awards for her efforts. She and her 65 colleagues were also awarded Red Cross’ prestigious Dunant award earlier this year.

Monday (August 22) marks the first anniversary of the Shoreham Airshow disaster, in which 11 people were killed and 16 others injured.

Terry said: “At Shoreham, my colleague and I were asked to support Thomas. When we arrived he was being treated by some RAF soldiers. I could see that he was badly burnt and could even tell by his injuries what position he had been in during the explosion. He had burns to his arms, hands, back and legs. Because the routes in and out of the site were blocked and access was very difficult, I knew that it would be a little while before Thomas could be moved to hospital, so my main concern was to help him with his pain levels and his emotional wellbeing. He had been travelling alone that day and didn’t have anyone with him to offer him support, so the Red Cross volunteers were careful to stay with him as much as possible.”

Thomas has sinced thanked Terry and her colleagues for treating him, saying they were ‘courageous’.

Malcolm Allsopp, operations director at the British Red Cross, said: “The Red Cross is indebted to Terry for her loyalty and dedication over the years. Her role during emergencies makes a very valuable contribution to our cause, directly supporting people in times of crisis.”

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