A former soldier travelled 459 miles after discovering his friend’s step-daughter, who has Down’s Syndrome, did not have a date for her college prom.
Andrew Duffy made the journey from Berwick-Upon-Tweed in the Scottish borders to north Devon to take 18-year-old Emily Wheeler to the end-of-year party.
Mr Duffy first met Emily at the wedding of his old friend David Findlay and the teenager’s mother Vikki Findlay.
He has since been inspired by her determination to live as independent a life as possible and was determined to take her to the prom.
He said: ‘When I heard she had no one to take her to prom I was really upset for her – who wouldn’t want to take her?
‘There was no doubt in my mind, I had to come down to Devon and help out. I didn’t do it for any form of recognition, I just wanted to dance with her and have a good time.’
Earlier this month, he drove to Edinburgh Airport from Berwick, before flying to Bristol then driving to Barnstaple, north Devon.
He presented Emily with a bunch of pink roses and asked her to be his date before accompanying the teenager to her Grease-themed prom at mainstream Petroc College in Barnstable
Emily wore a blue dress with white polka dots and had older sister Alex, 22, do her hair and makeup.
She was even voted prom queen by staff from JBlock, the college’s supported learning section
Mr Duffy suffers from post traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq during his time in The King’s Own Scottish Borderers infantry regiment.
He says spending time with Emily has helped him deal with the anxiety, panic attacks and night terrors he suffers due to the condition.
Mr Duffy added: ‘I don’t think I’d be here today if it wasn’t for her. I can honestly say that girl saved my life.
‘When I spend time with her she just absorbs every bit of negativity, it is really quite amazing.
‘I think the way forward is for PTSD sufferers to spend time working with people with special needs.
‘When you suffer a debilitating illness you become withdrawn from society but being around people like Emily makes you understand there is life outside your own problems.’