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Wednesday, November 17, 1999 Published at 09:00 GMT

UK: Northern Ireland

Bravery awards for bomb helpers

People who showed courage after the bomb are commended

Almost 100 people have been presented with awards in recognition of their bravery after Northern Ireland's worst single terrorist atrocity.

Twenty-nine people died and more than 300 were injured when a massive car bomb exploded in Omagh, County Tyrone last August.

At a special ceremony in the town on Tuesday night, awards were presented to members of the public who showed courage and compassion in the aftermath of the hugh explosion.

Many went to the aid of the bereaved and injured in the blast, which ripped the heart out of the town.

The Duchess of Abercorn presented the awards on behalf of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and other emergency services to show appreciation for the public help.

Evil minds behind explosion

RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan said the evil minds behind the explosion could shake confidence in mankind.

However, he said the compassion and courage of everyone who helped the bereaved and injured restored faith.

Omagh woman Noreen Collins who received an award told how she helped an injured woman.

"One girl was losing consciousness and she told me she was getting married in a two weeks and I said hang onto it and don't give into this.

"Stay with it and stay with me. She did survive and she did get married."

The award winners were praised for showing real humanity and told that they no doubt prevented an even greater loss of life in the atrocity.

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