In the early hours of the 22nd May 2013, Annie Dow woke up unable to breathe. She quickly realized the family home was on fire. There was no fire alarm, as it had been knocked out by lightening and not yet replaced. Annie and her family had just minutes to live. Annie first called her father and then set about trying to rescue a family friend who was sleeping on the top floor. She was soon beaten back by the smoke and instead joined her mother and Hamish, her dog, in trying to get the front door open. Her father Robin rescued Susanna, the family friend. Throughout this terrifying ordeal Annie remained calm and constructive.

"I knew what to do thanks to the fire drills we had at my old school, The New School, Butterstone” says Annie. ���We had fire drills, (often in the middle of the night), and they taught us to stay calm and get out."

  Annie Dow
Annie Dow

TADHA was created following the heroic actions by Annie Dow and the setup of the Award has been made possible by an anonymous donor making a gift of £20,000.  The donor, who formerly served in HM Armed Forces, has a combination of training and experience which enables him to understand and appreciate reactions to life under pressure.

In relations to Annie’s actions, the donor commented “The fire at Inveresk Lodge was not just unexpected, it was immediate and it was dangerous.  Alone and surprised, Annie Dow assessed the situation and responded, remaining calm and composed.  Annie made real decisions and she didn’t waiver. It is not that she did things right, it is that she did the right thing.

Well trained by her school, people who brook no quarter in their training of their pupils they adore and hold dear, they have played their part in training a hero.

Annie Dow is as impressive as people who I have commended for actions where they have been decorated for gallantry.  This may not have been enemy fire but it was a real fire, no less urgent and no less real than combat. This girl is a hero.”

It is our honour to set up The Annie Dow Heroism Award in recognition of this wonderful hero, Annie Dow.

"The introduction by TADHA in recognising outstanding acts of heroism in the face of considerable adversity��by young people in our society who ordinarily are in need of some additional support is a terrific development. TADHA will undoubtedly encourage many others to appreciate the huge contribution young people, even in trying personnel circumstances, can make to society."

  Peter Murray, Assistant Chief Officer, Scotland Fire and Rescue Services