Bomb hero Capt Daniel Shepherd's widow collects medal

Image caption, Mrs Shepherd collected her husband's medal in a private ceremony

The widow of a soldier who cleared 13 Taliban bombs by hand in 36 hours before being killed in Afghanistan has collected his George Medal.

Capt Daniel Shepherd, 28, from Lincoln, had cleared the explosives without a protective suit, disposal robot or electronic equipment.

The Queen gave Kerry Shepherd his gallantry medal at Buckingham Palace.

Meanwhile, Lord Patel of Dunkeld became the first Scottish Asian to be awarded Scotland's Order of the Thistle.

Milkman Tony Fowler, from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, was appointed MBE for his services to people in the town, where his vigilance has helped police catch a number of criminals.

And Staff Sgt Kim Hughes, of the Royal Logistic Corps, was awarded the George Cross for the "single most outstanding act of explosive ordnance disposal" recorded in Afghanistan.

On three occasions, the 30-year-old from from Telford, Shropshire, manually defused devices as he tried to clear a path to five wounded soldiers last summer near the Afghan town of Sangin.

After the ceremony, he said the Queen had asked him whether the army had been able to get more bomb disposal experts to Afghanistan.

He had replied by saying he was now employed as an instructor training future experts.

Staff Sgt Hughes also paid tribute to his friend, Staff Sgt Olaf Schmid, 30, who was awarded a posthumous George Cross after being killed by a makeshift bomb last October.

Fellow bomb disposal expert Capt Shepherd had been helping to disarm a bomb in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province when he died in July last year.

His parents, David and Judith Shepherd, and other close relatives were with his widow to receive the honour in a private reception at the palace's state dining room, before the main investiture ceremony.

Afterwards, Mr Shepherd said: "We are extremely honoured that his bravery in Afghanistan has been recognised with the George Medal.

"Our only wish would be that he could be here to collect it himself.

"And let's not forget those that have been injured and those brave men and women who continue to serve."

Mr Shepherd described the George Medal as the "ultimate honour" for his son and said the Queen had shown her feelings for his family.

The soldier's citation read: "Capt Shepherd relied on his technical expertise and completed over 20 manual approaches and countless fingertip searches to deal with 13 victim-operated devices in 36 hours of unbroken activity.

"During this time he was under sporadic enemy fire and used only manual clearance means.

'An inspiration'

"He was an inspiration to his team; his personal actions directly and demonstrably saved the lives of innumerable Afghans, coalition and British forces."

At the time of his death Capt Shepherd, from Lincoln, was described by his commanding officer as "unbelievably courageous".

Major Eldon Millar, Officer Commanding the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, said: "On task he was the epitome of cool, calm and collected - he was utterly unflappable, a trait which inspired enormous confidence in all who served alongside him."

Lord Patel, 71, who is Chancellor of Dundee University, said he was "delighted" to receive his honour, which recognises contribution to Scotland.

"I am much humbled and feel greatly honoured by Her Majesty giving me this award," he added.

The peer studied medicine at Queen's College, St Andrews, before it became Dundee University.

He graduated in 1964 and worked at Ninewells Hospital for around 30 years, specialising in high-risk obstetrics and has been president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Knighted in 1997, he was made a peer two years later and currently chairs the UK Stem Cell Oversight Committee, the UK Stem Cell Network and the National Patient Safety Agency of England and Wales.

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