A WAR hero, charity leaders and a community police officer were among those honoured for work in their communities.

A ‘humbling’ High Sheriff’s Awards evening at Christ Church, Oxford, on Thursday recognised courageous, caring and community-minded people across Oxfordshire.

One of the night’s winners was Ron Dale, of Witney, who saved the life of American airman Sgt Armstrong ‘Doc’ Lyon, who was trapped in a burning plane.

Mr Dale, of Thorney Leys, was just 17 when he pulled Sgt Lyon from a crashed Wellington bomber in Milton-under-Wychwood in 1942.

He was standing in his mother’s garden about to head to work when he noticed the plane dropping lower and lower in the sky.

When it hit the ground he sprung into action, clearing a wall and running towards it.

Four of the five crew on board died.

Sgt Lyon survived but was badly burned. He was left trapped and in danger of a sudden explosion.

Mr Dale pulled him from the burning wreckage and the pair ran to safety.

The plane exploded moments later.

On his 92nd birthday last Thursday, he was recognised with a High Sheriff’s award.

He said: “It feels fantastic to be recognised.

“I didn’t know what people would think about it all - I wasn’t able to tell anyone about it at the time.”

Following the initial coverage in the Witney Gazette, research by this paper and Witney MP Robert Courts revealed that Sgt Lyon had lived a full life.

It was also discovered that the sergeant, who is believed to have passed away in 1996 at the age of 76, had children.

Mr Dale said Sgt Lyon’s daughters Pamela and Marion will visit Oxfordshire next month to meet the man who saved their father’s life.

The 92-year-old said: “I talk to them on the phone regularly, they are very interested about how I saved his life, and I like hearing from them.

“The first time, one of them said ‘Am I talking to the man who saved my daddy? If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be here.”

Other winners in West Oxfordshire included Deborah Robson-Grey, the founder of homelessness action group Homes4All.

She said: “My award is for all those who give their time, vision, support, compassion, care, time, gifts, money, and love.

“As many give without any recognition, please share mine. There are too many to mention, but you know who you are, because you are all the people who help me to help others.”

Jill Bull, who runs the ICE Centre, previously based in Carterton but now in Witney, also received an award. The centre helps improve the quality of life of disabled people in the area by teaching them new skills.

Other winners included Stephen Andrews, of Charlbury, who has chaired the trustees of the Corner House and War Memorial Hall; Gilly Simmonds, who established a branch of The Besom in Witney; John Lindquist, a Vietnam veteran who works tirelessly to ensure Minster Lovell is kept clean and tidy; and Darryn Moulding, a Burford PCSO known for going the extra mile.