A lorry driver who rescued a woman trapped in a burning car, just seconds before it exploded, has been given a bravery award for his quick-thinking actions.

John Rastrick from Chesterfield rescued Pari Mistry from her burning vehicle on the M1 in January last year after it burst into flames following a crash.

The lorry driver said there was no hesitation in his response: "I was 110% focused - I knew what I had to do."

Greeted with thick smoke and a fireball, the haulier managed to drag Ms Mistry from the inferno just 29 seconds before it exploded.

Speaking of the incident, Mr Rastrick said: "I saw her car spin two or three times when another car collided with her and her vehicle immediately set on fire.

"So I'm thinking I've got to get out, I've got to sort this out. Because I know I've literally got seconds, it's going to go up and whoever's inside is going to be dead.

The HGV driver ran from his lorry cab and reached Ms Mistry's car before the vehicle exploded.

"Everything's in flames except the driver's seat.

"I struggled with the seatbelt, finally got that off and said 'you're coming with me darling' out the car."

The HGV driver said he "didn't give it a second thought" before coming to the rescue.

Ms Mistry, who had been on the way to meet her husband for dinner, spent four days in a critical care unit at Coventry and Warwickshire General Hospital with a skull fracture.

She underwent an eight-hour operation on her skull and then had to learn to walk and talk again.

Ms Mistry is now on the path to recovery and was delighted to have the opportunity to thank Mr Rastrick for saving her life.

In recognition of Mr Rastrick's brave actions, the crew who attended to Ms Mistry presented him with an East Midlands Ambulance Service Bravery Award on Wednesday.

Speaking about her accident, Ms Mistry said: "I don’t remember much from the incident, apart from what I have been told but I know I immediately thought I was going to die.

"For my family, this incident was especially hard as we are all really close.

"With their support and help, I was able to persevere with my recovery and say thank you to John in my own words"

She added: "Being able to say thank you to John and the crew for what they did means so much, I never thought I would get the chance.

"John didn’t just save my life.

"He saved the lives of my mum, dad and brother too."

The pair have kept in touch since the incident, and were reunited with the crew who assisted with the accident response.

Ms Mistry said: "It was so emotional the first time we met but I just feel like we've got, like I've got a friend for life now."