A Wrexham woman was honoured for her bravery during the Manchester Arena terror attack at an awards ceremony celebrating women from all walks of life.

Lea Vaughan, from Llay, was one of three paramedics of the Hazardous Area Response Team in the blast zone after a bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber as people left an Ariana Grande concert.

Twenty-two people were killed and 250 were injured following the blast on May 22.

Lea was part of the Women of the Manchester Emergency and Medical Services group who won the Barclays Women of the Year Award.

Lea, who moved to Manchester just over a year ago, said when the team received the call, they could tell “something very serious had happened”.

She told the Leader the team often get false alarms but, as they approached the Arena, they saw people leaving who were “covered in blood”.

“It never left me. Every single day I think about it,” Lea said

“I went in the blast zone with just one of my colleagues. There was a risk of a second bomb and structural damage so we knew we had to get in there as soon as possible.

“There was actually only three paramedics in there because it wasn’t safe enough anymore.

“We had to deal with 26 patients who were critically injured and stabilise them quickly to save their lives.

“We managed to do this quite quickly, all within an hour. But we didn’t actually leave the scene until 4.30am.

“Being faced with 26 people between three paramedics was very daunting. The response team has so much training. We know exactly what to do in these situations. But this is something you wouldn’t expect to have to deal with.

“It was very difficult. I have never seen anything like that in my life and hopefully I never will again.”

The 40-year-old has worked for the ambulance service for nine years and despite moving away from home, she will always describe herself as “Llay born and bred”.

Lea, who is now a specialist paramedic for the North West Ambulance Service, said: “In my mind I was just a little North Walian girl being a part of the biggest incident Manchester has ever seen.

“What I did was very much a team effort. It was a team effort across the board. No part was greater than the next.

“The patients were amazingly brave, some were in so much pain.

“The children were very, very shocked about what happened. They had been to the concert and were probably going to get a Mcdonald’s or something on their way home.

“I’ll never forget the looks on their faces. They were so so brave. The patients were looking after each other and comforting each other.”

For her role in helping the victims of the bombing, Lea was invited to the Women of the Year Lunch at the InterContinental Hotel in London.

Lea didn’t realise she was even up for an award when she went along and said: “I just thought I was going for some lunch.”

The event brings together more than 400 women each year who have been “handpicked” for their achievements and contribution to society.

It has celebrated women of all walks of life since 1955.

Last week, Lea was also invited to 10 Downing Street and was congratulated by Prime Minister Theresa May which Lea said was “an honour”.

Jane Luca, chairman of Women of the Year, said: “I am extremely proud of the 2017 Women of the Year Award winners and all 400 women of achievement who joined us today.

“This year’s ceremony recognised and celebrated the bravery of women from our emergency, medical and rescue services both in the UK and internationally in what has been a challenging year. The stories of their heroism are endless.”

Guests of the 2017 ceremony included Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Christine Lampard, Karren Brady, Louise Minchin and Sandi Toksvig.