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Honour for diver killed saving his pal.

A DIVER who died after suffering horrific injuries while saving a colleague's life will be honoured today.

Gary Connor's selfless act of bravery has been recognised by the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust.

The 40-year-old dad-of-five was left paralysed after going to the rescue of fellow diver Kenny Patterson, who got into difficulties in 200 feet of water during a scuba-diving trip in the Pentland Firth on August 19 three years ago.

The pair were investigating a wreck off South Ronaldsay when Kenny, 34, from Orkney, became entangled in a search-line.

He was dragged unconscious from the seabed by Gary, who ran the Wick office of the commercial diving company, Fathoms, and made a full recovery.

However, Gary suffered severe decompression sickness - known as the bends. He was treated in a decompression chamber before having emergency surgery in Aberdeen but his condition worsened and he was left quadriplegic and with major sight problems.

He needed round-the-clock care in Caithness General Hospital in Wick until his death on April 1 last year.

Experts say Kenny's unconscious state helped him survive as it slowed his breathing. Gary, on the other hand, would have been breathing heavily as he struggled to bring the other man to the surface, worsening the effects of "the bends".

His bravery was commended by a fatal accident inquiry held last November.

Gary's partner Sheena Cormack, who he lived with in Wick, will accept a roll of honour and citation from George Atkinson, chairman of the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust, during a special ceremony today.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 4, 2001
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