NUNEATON Afghan War hero Mark Williams was given an emotionally charged reception after his bravery was recognised by the borough council.
He received a prolonged standing ovation from a packed Council Chamber at the Town Hall.
Councillors, council officials and guests from all walks of life rose to their feet in an outpouring of pride that continued for several minutes at the mayor-making ceremony.
Afterwards, the modest Royal Marine, who was awarded the Military Cross for saving a stricken colleague under fire, said: “I was overwhelmed.
“It was something I never expected and after it was all over I felt I should have said something, but to tell you the truth I was speechless.”
The 23-year-old had been invited to the ceremony as a special guest with his girlfriend Stacey Wildbore, stepfather Martin Lawrence and veteran Royal Marine Jesse Owen.
After his election the new Mayor of Nuneaton and Bedworth John Haynes welcomed the guests, who he said included Jesse Owen, a veteran of the Korean War and the borough’s best known old soldier and a `modern day hero.’
His voice almost choking with emotion he then described how Mark Williams raced out under a hail of fire to carry his wounded comrade to safety.
“He gave him first aid and saved his life,” said Cllr Haynes.
The mayor then presented Mark with a framed montage of views of the borough and a Service to the Community Award.
“I will treasure it and I am having my house gutted so I will be able to find a space for it on the wall,” said Mark, who is based at Plymouth.
“Obviously, I knew I was coming, but I did not expect to get such a reception,” he said.
He is now waiting to receive his Military Cross, one of the highest bravery awards the country can bestow.
“Ideally, I would like to get it from the Queen at Buckingham Palace because it is her Diamond Jubilee year,” he said.
Jesse Owen, a former Royal Marine Commando, who took part in one of the bloodiest battles of the Korean War, said: “It is not often that you get to stand beside a hero.
But Mark is so modest and unassuming. “He has been given permission by his Commanding Officer to help us at our Remembrance Parades and fundraising and has said he will be only too happy to do so.”