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[an error occurred while processing this directive] banner Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 17:29 GMT
Cochrane receives Queen's honour
Ray Cochrane after the presentation at Newmarket
Ray Cochrane with his special award
Former jockey Ray Cochrane said he felt "humble" after being honoured by the Queen for his part in saving fellow rider Frankie Dettori's life.

The Ulsterman received the Queen's Commendation for Bravery at a special ceremony at the Jockey Club in Newmarket.

Cochrane, 44, pulled fellow rider Dettori from the wreckage of a burning plane following a crash in June 2000.

The former Derby also tried in vain to save the life of pilot Patrick Mackey.

Ray was determined to get me away from the plane and he helped me away
Frankie Dettori

Cochrane suffered burns and bruising in the crash, and was forced to retire from racing five months later after suffering back problems following a series of falls.

After receiving the award accompanied by his wife Anne, Cochrane said: "I have been told the medal is the equivalent of the Military Cross.

"It's very humbling. Very brave soldiers who did a lot more than me have received the Military Cross."

Cochrane and Dettori were heading for a race at Goodwood when the Piper Seneca plane they were travelling in caught fire just after take-off.

Dettori suffered multiple injuries and, like Cochrane, spent several days in hospital after the crash.

Speaking after the crash, Dettori, then 29, praised his colleague's "impossible" actions in trying to save his fellow passengers' lives.

"I was very, very, very surprised to be alive," Dettori recalled. "I heard Ray shouting 'get out'. We tried to force the door, but it was caved in.

Frankie Dettori
Dettori praised Cochrane's "impossible" bravery

"We quickly searched for a way out and saw a hole in the back, through the luggage door and as far as I recollect I scrambled my way out and Ray followed.

"My face was cut to bits. I felt I had lost my right eye. I couldn't really see because of the blood.

"I stopped about 10 steps away from the plane and I recollect that I just collapsed to the floor and everything was a blur.

"Ray was determined to get me away from the plane and he helped me away. Then I saw him go back to the plane, but it was exploding and on fire.

"I saw him taking his jacket off and trying to fight the blaze. He tried to do something that was impossible."

Cochrane received his award from a representative of the Queen, Lord Belstead, Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, at the Newmarket ceremony.

BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght
reviews the day's action

More Audio/Video

Honest Frank - trust him to explain

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