This is the Derry hero who saved a woman’s life by rescuing her from her bungalow when he saw flames engulfing the building.
Ted McQuilkin had just returned home from a night playing Bridge in Moville when he saw flames coming from his neighbour’s home at Donal Casey Court -a sheltered housing estate.
“I parked the car and heard what sounded like a crackling noise,” he said.
“I looked at the bungalows and saw the flames.
“I took my mobile phone out and rang the fire brigade. It was the first time I’d used it in an emergency.
“When I looked down I could see the oil tank had caught fire.
“Vandals must have set fire to the bushes behind.
“I rushed to the front door and started banging on it to get the woman inside out.
“She had been asleep inside. I kept banging the door until she got up. There was a whole commotion and people were coming out of their flats.
“When I took the lady to show her the flames at the back of the house she said - thanks for being here son.”
Ted said it was really good to be recognised but added he just did “what anyone would have.”
He was nominated by the warden in Donal Casey Court - Mary Duffy, who put Ted up for the award because of his bravery.
“That night when I was in Moville we had only a half table playing Bridge,” he said.
“So I ended up coming home 20 minutes early that night.
“If that hadn’t happened I wouldn’t have seen the flames.”
Ted and the other finalists will enjoy a top-class night of great food and entertainment at the grand final of of the Spirit of Northern Ireland awards in the five-star Culloden Hotel in Holywood this Friday, June 12.
UTV will be filming the glittering occasion for a special one-hour TV programme, presented by Pamela Ballantine and Frank Mitchell.
Entertainment will be provided by Louis Walsh’s new boyband Hometown and comic May McFettridge.
Guests will be introduced to all of the 15 finalists and get to hear their inspiring stories, including Ted’s rescue of the 85 years old woman.
Ted has been nominated in the ‘Sunday Life’ Unsung Hero category, the winner of which will be chosen by a judging panel headed by X Factor judge, Louis Walsh.
The overall winner will receive a £1,000 cash prize from Northern Ireland’s fastest growing care recruitment and domiciliary agency, Peninsula Care Services.