Rotherham “super hero” family win awards after saving man trapped in burning car

By Ben Heppenstall

Rotherham dad and son Ian and James Soakell were awarded Royal Humane Society Bronze Awards after saving a man trapped in a burning car in 2019.

Ian Soakell

The surviving crash victim, who didn’t want to be named, called the Soakells the “superhero family” having met them after finding James on Facebook.

The Bronze Award is given to people who put their own lives at great risk to save or attempt to save someone else.

Ian and James were nominated for the award by James’ mum, Bev, who also played a role in rescuing the man from the burning car.

After watching her husband and son receive their awards from Princess Alexandra, Bev said: “I am so proud of what Ian and James did that night.

“They didn’t hesitate in risking their own lives to save the young man and I’m sure they would do it again.”

Despite being nominated in 2019 for the award, Ian and James only received them this year because a backlog of awards caused by the pandemic.

The pair received their medals from the President of the Royal Humane Society, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, the Queen’s cousin.

James Soakell

Ian said it was a privilege to meet Princess Alexandra who is president of the RHS. “Princess Alexandra was very gracious and was genuinely interested in our stories.”

He said HRH put his nerves at ease, stating: “She had a great sense of humour”.

RHS Secretary Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Chapman said of Ian and James: “Despite terrible danger, they dared to go where others feared to, and thanks to their bravery the driver of the car although badly burned, survived.” 

After seeing all the bravery award recipients at the ceremony at the Haberdasher’s Hall in London, Bev said: “It shows that there are a lot of brave, kind people out there.”

The events that lead to Ian and James receiving their medals were written in the Royal Humane Society Annual Report 2020.

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