To The Rescue
A COURAGEOUS farmer is to receive one of Britain's top bravery awards for the dramatic rescue of a female motorist who was trapped in a raging torrent during the November floods.
After he learned of his award yesterday, unassuming Andrew Rennie insisted: "I don't think I'm a hero – I just did what anyone else would have done. All I did was answer a call for assistance....
He was fast asleep in his farmhouse home at Gask Farm, near Turriff, when the phone rang. On the other end was a local fireman with a simple message: "There's a woman trapped in her car. Can you take something big and heavy with you – preferably a tractor?"
Mr Rennie, 41, recalled: "When I reached the scene it was pitch black, but there was fast flowing water everywhere. You couldn't see the car from where the fire engine was.
Mr Rennie, at the wheel of the massive tractor, then began to edge his way slowly along the flooded road, with a firefighter strapped, half in and half out, to each side of the cab.
He said: "I was trying to figure out where the edge of the road was because the water was so deep. I was worried the tractor would get swept away. You had to watch where you were driving because of the strong currents.
"The whole road was a river. The biggest fear was that the water had undermined the road and we could get stranded ourselves."
Slowly but surely they reached Mrs Catto's car which has been forced sideways on the carriageway by the force of the torrent and wedged against a bank.
The two firemen eventually managed to prise open one of the car doors and free her. Mr Rennie said:
"As soon as we got back to dry land she was taken away in the ambulance. I never saw Mrs Catto but her son came and thanked me personally later in the day."