British Indian-origin risked his life to help injured boy in terror attack

Vastavam web: An Indian-origin Birmingham man, who risked his life to help a fatally injured young boy in the last year’s Barcelona terror attack, has been selected for this year’s ‘Pride of Birmingham’ award.Harry Athwal, a project manager from Great Barr area of north-west Birmingham, was in Spain on holiday with a group of friends and family, including his sister Kinde Dehr, when a terrorist drove a van into pedestrians on Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas tourist spot, killing 13 people and injuring hundreds.I am a Sikh, and in Sikhism it is my duty to go and help somebody who is hurt or who is being bullied. That, in a sense, overtook me. I didn’t have time to think, Athwal told the Birmingham Mail.

At that moment you have a split second to decide what you are going to do. It was my instinct that I had to go and help somebody. I had to do something. It’s in my DNA, he said.The 45-year-old has since been in touch with the boy’s grandparents, Noreen and Tony Cadman, who have thanked him for his heroic actions.The group was having lunch at a restaurant overlooking Las Ramblas when he heard people’s scream and saw a van ploughing through them. He rushed down to the street to try and help.

The noise was phenomenal as it [van] hit people thump after thump after thump. Straight away, I realised it was a terrorist attack, he recalled.Athwal says he is speechless to be selected for the Pride of Birmingham’s Outstanding Bravery Award. The annual awards, organised by the Birmingham Mail newspaper and partners TSB, to recognise courage, caring, compassion and community.