A HERO tree surgeon who pulled a woman from the wreckage of a burning car was among those to receive honours at Buckingham Palace.

Luke Ridley, from Amesbury, was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for rescuing the woman after her vehicle flipped onto its side following an accident on the A303 close to his hometown.

The 30-year-old managed to cut the driver free from her seatbelt by climbing in through the boot of the Nissan Micra as the police tried to give him instructions over the phone in November 2018.

Mr Ridley used his pick axe and handsaw, which are part of his working tool kit, to free the woman.

Salisbury Journal:

Speaking after receiving his award from the Prince of Wales on Wednesday morning, he said: "I managed to get in through the boot, sliced the seatbelt and really luckily she was able to stand up on her own and I just grabbed her and dragged her out."

Mr Ridley said he had taken the woman to his van and immediately driven off for fear the burning car might explode.

"It was on fire as I was pulling her out and when the police turned up they were obviously really shocked at the state of the car - it was a huge blaze," he said.

Describing his day at the palace, he said "it's still completely surreal", and he joked that the fire service had tried to recruit him as a volunteer firefighter, but said he is going to stick with his day job.