A FLEET mother has spoken of her pride at seeing her hero son receive national recognition for his bravery.
Russell Ward, 34, received a Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Award during a celebrity-studded ceremony at London’s plush Hilton Hotel on Monday evening.
Russell was the off-duty firefighter, who tried to save the life of Australian Jodie Cearns after she got caught up in the brutal Bali bomb blast last October.
Doctors had given up hope of saving 35-year-old Jodie as she lay dying.
She had appalling burns and lost a leg in the sickening terrorist attack but Russell spent two hours ventilating her by hand until she regained consciousness.
Jodie was flown to a hospital in Perth, Western Australia, where she had a leg amputated but sadly she died of her injuries 11 days after the blast.
Russell, who is a firefighter based in Watford, was enjoying a two-week break with his girlfriend when the bomb went off.
He worked continuously at the bomb site and at the hospital. He also helped train firefighters in rescue techniques at the local station.
A panel of celebrities picked Russell as one of the Pride of Britain winners. They included Ms Dynamite, Sir Richard Branson, Joanna Lumley and Fiona Phillips.
Proud parents John and Rosemary Ward travelled to the Hilton to watch their son receive his award on Monday night.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Mrs Ward, of Brook Close, Fleet.
“Russell got a standing ovation and Sir Paul McCartney, who was sitting two seats away from me, came up and said ‘you must be so proud.’
“It was just like something out of This is Your Life when they said we have flown someone 8,000 miles to be here tonight and on came Jodie’s mother. It was just so emotional and Russell was crying.”
Mrs Ward added: “Russell’s life is all about helping others and he has always committed himself to good causes.
“He has worked in a hospice, at a Nepalese soup kitchen and helped relocate refugees in Bosnia.
“Russell never takes any holiday, he uses all his leave to go and help others.”