Hero South Yorkshire medic honoured at palace for saving soldier

michelleram'Michelle Ping, in Afghanistan
michelleram'Michelle Ping, in Afghanistan

A HERO South Yorkshire medic who saved the life of a wounded soldier while under fire from the Taliban in Afghanistan has received her Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal.

Michelle Ping, aged 38, a Royal Naval reservist medic, was invited to Buckingham Palace to receive her medal.

Michelle, of Dungworth, near Sheffield, rushed to the aid of 22-year-old soldier Craig Paterson after he was shot in the head while trying to target insurgent fighters from a rooftop in Lashkar Gar last summer.

The former Earl Marshal School pupil, who works as specialist paramedic in Yorkshire, said: “Craig was a soldier who was shot and he needed my help and as a medic that was my responsibility. I didn’t think about anything else, I just wanted to make sure he was all right.”

She said Highlander Craig has been left with injuries similar to a stroke and is partially paralysed down his right side, but a few weeks ago completed a charity bike ride in aid of a Forces charity.

Air engineer mechanic Michelle said: “It was a bike ride from Edinburgh to London, on a specially adapted bike and I was there on the finishing line.

“It was such an emotional moment to see how far he’s come in just more than a year.

“His right leg is better now, quite a lot stronger, but his right shoulder and arm generally don’t work as well as they should.”

Michelle, who has also served in Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia, said she treated all the young soldiers like they were her sons.

She said: “I make sure they’re OK, keep an eye on them, nag them ‘put some sun cream on, have you had some water, have you had a wash’ - they’re my babies, my boys.”

The news of her award came in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June.

She was the only member of the Royal Navy Reserves to be awarded the medal in the honours.

It followed a Mention in Despatches for gallantry, an honour at The Sun’s Millies military awards, where she rubbed shoulders with Princes William and Harry, and her campaign medal for Afghanistan, presented by the Duchess of Cornwall.

Hearing she had been awarded the QVRM, handed to only 13 military reservists each year for exemplary conduct, she said: “I am chuffed to bits. All my family are gobsmacked.”