HERO lorry driver Dawn Leonard has been awarded for her brave actions which prevented tragedy on the M5.

Dawn put her own life on the line by using her own vehicle to shield motorway drivers from an out-of-control lorry.

She positioned herself between the central reservation and the lorry after its driver suffered a medical episode. She guided it to the safety of the hard shoulder on March 8 – International Women’s Day.

Dawn is among 15 winners of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Pride Award.

Yeovil Express:

Dawn receives her award from police chief constable Andy March and police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens

Dawn said: “I had to do something to stop him hitting the central reservation or other cars, or else something awful was going to happen. 

"You never know how you’re going to react in these kinds of situations and I couldn’t sit without doing anything."

The winners and their guests attended the ceremony at Police and Fire Headquarters in Portishead, before being invited to have lunch with the PCC and Chief Constable Andy Marsh, followed by a tour of the communications centre where ‘999’ calls are received.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “It is always humbling to see the dedication, bravery and hard work of the many people living amongst us. They are the unsung heroes who continually go that extra mile to keep the communities of Avon and Somerset safer and stronger.  It is always a joy to meet them and hear their stories.

“These awards are a celebration of those silent stars who often do not get the recognition they so richly deserve. I am proud to say that all of these winners have made a lasting impact on the lives of Avon and Somerset residents and I am grateful to every single one of them for their efforts.”

Yeovil Express:

The lorry Dawn guided to safety

“These awards are a celebration of those silent stars who often do not get the recognition they so richly deserve. I am proud to say that all of these winners have made a lasting impact on the lives of Avon and Somerset residents and I am grateful to every single one of them for their efforts.”

Colin and Carol Wheeler were travelling from North Devon to Nailsea when they saw Dawn's quick-thinking after she spotted the driver slumped at the wheel.

The couple were among a number of people to have contacted the Bridgwater Mercury and County Gazette to say her actions were deserved of an award.

Matthew Boiles, Roads Policing Officer for Avon & Somerset, said at the time: "She demonstrated her professional driving skills and quick thinking to avoid the incident that could have led to serious or fatal consequences for members of the public.

“You never know how you’re going to react in these kinds of situations and I couldn’t sit without doing anything. Had he hit cars or the barrier it would be anyone’s guess what could’ve happened. I’m just glad the driver is ok and I wish him and family all the best.”