Queen honours have-a-go hero

Queen Elizabeth has given a bravery award to the baggage handler who heroically tackled a terrorist at a Scottish airport.

The 81-year-old monarch presented John Smeaton with the Queen’s Gallantry Medal at her official London residence Buckingham Palace yesterday (04.03.08), in recognition of his efforts following a failed car bomb plot at Glasgow airport last June.

John, who wore a traditional Scottish kilt to pick up the award, said: “It’s the proudest moment of my life. We just had a small chat and she said ‘Well done and congratulations’.

“The queen was very nice. She asked me if it was scary that day and I said it was. She said it was an awful thing and I agreed. It’s a magnificent experience receiving this medal.”

John, 31, was one of a number of bystanders who intervened to take on two terrorists when their burning car smashed into the airport terminal. However, he played down his bravery, insisting: “I’m not a hero. I just booted a guy.”

During the incident John also dragged another member of the public, Michael Kerr, away from the burning vehicle after he had broken his leg attempting to confront the attackers.

John has since been promoted to head of security at an airport car park.