A hero who rescued five terrified dogs who were trapped inside a burning building has been honoured for his bravery.
Father-of-three Josh Cropper raced to a neighbour’s house in Southport and grabbed a hosepipe before leaping back over the wall of the blazing home as he put out the flames.
He said he was “overwhelmed” after being presented with the Sefton Courage Award, sponsored by Lloyds Bank, through the 2023 Pride Of Sefton Awards.
Josh was due to be presented with the accolade at the awards night at The Grand in Southport, but was unable to make the event at the last minute after testing positive for Covid-19.
The 30-year-old, who has three sons aged 8, 6 and 4, was instead presented with the award at his home in Southport.
Josh, who is a grab driver for JN Civils in Preston, said: “I am overwhelmed to have got this award!
“I was honoured to be named on the shortlist, but didn’t think I had any chance of actually winning it.
“It feels fantastic to be recognised by the Pride of Sefton Awards. I never expected it.
“My Dad was brought up the same as I was, to do anything you can to help other people when they need it.
“I believe in karma. It’s good to do things to help other people.”
Josh was at home with his family at around 6pm on 12th March when he spotted smoke and went to investigate.
He said: “We live in Pitt Street and the fire was on Milton Street, just a couple of hundred yards away.
“When I arrived a house was on fire. There were people standing outside, but some of them were on their phones taking pictures of it.
“A neighbour told me there were no people inside but there were five Yorkshire Terrier dogs trapped who couldn’t get out. My adrenaline kicked in.
“I opened the gate and kicked the front door in. As soon as I kicked that in, a big plume of black smoke came flying out.
“I put a brick through a window to let some more of the smoke out.
“A neighbour kindly took in three of the dogs, but two of them ran off.
“The fire started in the carport next to the house.
“I climbed over a neighbour’s wall to get to the carport area and used a hosepipe to put out the fire.
“The flames were out by the time the fire engines arrived.
“I was worried about what might have happened. If the fire had spread it could have completely destroyed the house, and then spread to neighbouring properties, which would have been catastrophic.”
A Finalist in the category was Adele Roberts, the Radio 1 DJ from Southport who set a new Guinness World Record when she ran the London Marathon in April along with her stoma, who she has named ‘Audrey’.
Adele, who bravely shared her battle against cancer last year, was raising money for the Attitude Magazine Foundation, which supports LGBTQ+ causes ranging from children’s hospices to those living with HIV.
The 26.2 mile race was a tough challenge for Adele, who underwent surgery for bowel cancer just a year and a half ago.
Also honoured were David Jessop, Naomi Williams, Leanne Szabo, from Birkdale Primary School.
Their quick thinking saved the life of Birkdale Primary School Headteacher Nick Sheeran following a heart attack.
The incident happened on the last day of term in July last year.
Luckily for him, a number of defibrillators had been placed within the school following a partnership with the Oliver King Foundation.
Within 32 seconds his colleagues David Jessop, Naomi Williams and Leanne Szabo were putting the life-saving equipment to use in order to successfully save his life.
VIP guests included Mayor of Sefton Cllr Clare Carragher and Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside Julie Lawson, while the night was hosted by In Demand Radio presenter Claire Simmo and TV presenter Fraser Dainton.
Entertainment was provided by Kelly Bond and Soul Jam.
Money was raised for the Steve Prescott Foundation and the ICU Steps charity, a cause close to Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group Chairman Andrew Mikhail after his long battle in intensive care in hospital against Covid-19 during the pandemic.