Bravery Medal For Thames Hero

A homeless man who jumped into the River Thames to save a drowning woman has said he tried not to "grin like a Cheshire cat" as he collected the Queen's Gallantry Medal at Buckingham Palace.

39 year old Adan Abobaker, who now lives in Northolt, stripped off his clothes and jumped into the freezing water to save the woman's life on a wintry evening in November 2010.

After collecting his medal from the Prince of Wales, Mr Abobaker said: "It was a little nerve-wracking. I was praying I would not start grinning like a Cheshire cat but Prince Charles was an absolute charmer and gave me some nice words.

"He asked me if the woman is okay now and if we are still in touch. He said it was extremely brave to jump into such a cold river."

Mr Abobaker was treated for hypothermia and spent a month on antibiotics after he held the woman's head to his chest until they were rescued by a safety vessel.

Despite this, he said he would not pause before doing it again.

"I would not hesitate. If someone was in danger, I will help. I could not live with myself if someone died because I did nothing.

"This medal will go with my other bravery medal and the four plaques and two crystals I have on my mantelpiece. It is not the awards that make it worth it though. The fact the woman is safe makes it worth it."