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Queen honours airport attack hero

18 December 07 00:11 GMT

A baggage handler who helped tackle terror suspects at Glasgow Airport will be honoured with a special Queen's medal for bravery.

John Smeaton, 31, who has already received a number of awards and plaudits, will receive the Queen's Gallantry Medal.

The award is given to civilians for acts of bravery.

Mr Smeaton said receiving the medal was "the ultimate" achievement, describing it as an "honour and a half".

He became a celebrity after helping to tackle suspects from a burning Jeep which crashed into the airport on 30 June.

"When I got the letter this morning, I couldn't believe it," he said. "I thought, 'What next?'

"I phoned my dad straight away and he was just bewildered, stunned.

"In no way did I expect this. It's an honour and a half. The ultimate."

Mr Smeaton said he was still overwhelmed by the news and said he had no plans to celebrate yet.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet," he added. "I'm just going with the flow. I'll probably just sit in and chat with the boys.

"I just try to get on with my life as normal but you don't know what's around the corner."

Heroic efforts

Mr Smeaton was one of several members of the public and emergency services workers who went to help during the airport attack.

He came to the aid of a police officer and also tackled one of the suspected terrorists.

He then moved injured people away from a burning vehicle which could have exploded.

Following his heroic efforts he has been praised by politicians and public alike.

He was invited to Downing Street by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and honoured by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. He has also had a website created in his honour.

Meanwhile, two Metropolitan Police explosives officers who risked their lives to disarm car bombs in London in June are also to receive bravery awards.

Paul Humphrey will receive the Queen's Gallantry Medal and Gary Wright the Queen's Commendation for Bravery.

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