2020 Winner

John Haughie


HGV driver and army reservist for 7 Scots, who rescued mum and three children from drowning after they were swept out to sea during a family day at the beach.

John was relaxing on the sand in Arisaig, near Fort William, when he heard his partner Cheryl and daughter Kiera screaming and cries for help.

Ben McCallie, 14, his sister Poppy, nine, and eight-year-old Lewis McCorkindale were playing in the sea, but a strong undercurrent had pulled them out into deeper water. Katrina McCallie, mum of Poppy and Ben, and sister to Lewis, had run into the sea to help them, despite not being able to swim.

She had not realised how sharply the seabed dropped away and was quickly in trouble herself. 

Katrina said: “The kids had been playing in the water and I noticed my younger brother was splashing quite frantically. I couldn’t see Poppy. I realised they were in trouble and my son, Ben, was trying to help them. I ran into the water, but the current was strong and I had no chance of saving all of us. I was trying to hold the kids up, but there was nothing below me. We were all screaming and the kids were clawing at me.”

That was when John, 32, from Alexandria, ran into the water and dived under the surface to grab the three drowning children and Katrina and dragged all four of them to safety.

Katrina added: “It probably didn’t last more than a few minutes, but I honestly thought my babies were going to die. We will never forget what he did.”