A Swindon man has been awarded one of Australia’s highest bravery decorations, after pulling a driver from a burning lorry in his new home of Queensland.

Nathan Thompson, 36, was awarded with the Star of Courage, one of the country’s most prestigious honours, following the incident in 2015.

Nathan, a former Honda worker who attended Greendown Community School (now Lydiard Park Academy), emigrated in 2006 after meeting his wife Aimee, who was visiting on her gap year, on a night out in Swindon.

He has lived in Charleville, a small town in north-eastern Australia, since. Alongside running his own electrician’s business, he is also part of the voluntary auxiliary fire service.

Maureen Thompson, Nathan’s grandmother, explained: “He joined the auxiliary fire service, where there are only four of them, and one fire engine. They have pagers, and whoever’s turn it is turns up to whatever is going on.

“One particular evening, it was his turn, and he got a call to a lorry which was on fire. The lorry was down in a dip, and they tried to get this fellow out.

“They’d just got him out before the lorry exploded, and the it shook houses miles away.”

With over 50 tonnes of ammonium nitrate on board, the combination of chemicals and diesel on board caused an explosion which was felt 30km away.

The driver, who suffered burns to 35 per cent of his body, later recovered to the extent that he was able to go and stay for a couple of weeks with Nathan and his family, and they have since become good friends.

His bravery was initially acknowledged when he was awarded the Heroism Medal at the Pride Of Australia Awards, in the process becoming “the first Pommie to get it”, according to his grandmother.

But greater honours were still to come: last year he was also awarded the Star of Courage, Australia’s second highest ranking recognition of civilian bravery.

Along with his colleagues in the auxiliary fire service, he was bestowed with the honour by the Governor of Queensland Paul De Jersey in a ceremony in Brisbane in April.