Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 11:51 UK

Postman 'hero' bags top job award

Stephen Jones (left) and Hywel Williams
Postman Stephen Jones saw flames coming from an upstairs window of Hywel Williams's house

A Gwynedd postman has been named 'Welsh Hero Postman' for saving two pensioners in a house fire.

Stephen Jones, 48, of Llanfairfechan, had just begun his round when he saw flames at a house's upstairs window.

He said he did not think of his personal safety as he dashed in to make sure the elderly occupants were safe.

Mr Jones, along with fundraiser postman Chris Williams from Tenby, and community postman Gary Richards from Swansea, go through to the UK awards.

"I'd just started on my round when I saw flames coming from the top window of a house over the road from where I'd stopped to buy a newspaper," he said of that day last October.

"A fire had started in one of the bedrooms and there was no sign of the owner."

Mr Jones said he knew an elderly lady lived in the house, as well as owner Hywel Williams, but that other family members were away on holiday.

Chris Williams
Chris Williams has raised thousands of pounds for charity

He made repeated attempts to find them in the dense smoke inside the house, finally locating them - and two dogs - on the ground floor.

"They were down a long corridor and you couldn't stay there for more than 20 seconds as the smoke was so thick," said Mr Jones.

He managed to lead the pair to safety but then decided to go back into the house to try to fight the fire after calls to the emergency services revealed crews were caught up in a major road incident.

He grabbed a fire extinguisher and entered the burning building.

"But as I opened the bedroom door, where the fire was, an aerosol canister or something went off, and I decided it was just too dangerous," he said.

He said he did not think of the risk he was taking at the time.

"Llanfairfechan is a small community, and I like to think we look out for each other," he said.

Mr Jones, a postman for 15 years, said he had never come across a fire before.

"The family have all come to thank me for what I did, which is really nice," he added.

Gary Richards
Gary Richards uses his skills as a former professional footballer

The postman is one of three from Wales who will travel to London on Sunday to take part in the UK-wide postman awards, which recognises 'posties' who go above and beyond the call of duty in their everyday lives.

Gary Richards, from Swansea, won the Welsh Community Postman award.

The former professional football player helps run a football club for disabled youngsters and adults.

Chris Williams, from Tenby, Pembrokeshire, won the Welsh Fundraiser Postman award for raising thousands of pounds for charity whilst helping to organise the Saundersfoot New Year's Day Swim for over 26 years.

Geoff Braden, regional operations for Royal Mail in Wales said all three postmen had shown "dedication and community spirit beyond the call of duty".

"They stand out as shining examples of what we call 'first class' in Royal Mail," he said.

Nominations for the awards came from customers who were keen to praise and commend the postmen and woman, who they feel play an active part in their individual communities, he added.

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