Just over a 100 days since risking his life to save others during the Manchester terror attack, Oldershaw Rugby Club’s Robby Potter saw his efforts recognised with the Rugby Inspiration accolade at the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards.

Wirral-born Robby was blown off his feet after being caught up in the horrifying trauma of the bomb attack at Manchester’s M.E.N. Arena on May 26, which killed 22 people and injured dozens more.

The 49-year-old was at the venue to pick up his daughter from that night’s Ariana Grande concert, and threw himself over five children during the aftermath, shielding them from the flying shrapnel.

He suffered multiple serious injuries, took a shard of metal through the heart, and was in a coma for three weeks after the attack.

He is now on crutches and slowly working his way back to a full recovery, but took time away from his rehab to travel to Twickenham for the National Rugby Awards on Wednesday.

Unbeknown to Robby, he had been put forward for the Rugby Inspiration Award, with England legend Lawrence Dallaglio handing him the trophy.

And an overwhelmed and emotional Robby admitted the day, which also included a special VIP tour around the home of rugby, was one that will live long in his memory.

“I never expected it at all. I should never have been up there. It’s unbelievable,” said Robby, who has vowed to get back on the rugby field once more.

“I’ve had some of my heroes come up to me outside when there are no cameras around and talk to me. It just proves rugby’s family is even bigger than what I thought.

“I just wish my 11-year-old daughter was a bit older so I could have brought her. To get shown around Twickenham, walking around pitch side and into the changing rooms and through the tunnel is incredible.

“Chris Robshaw actually knew me and asked me questions before I could ask him. Lawrence Dallaglio knew the story too.

“I didn’t think rugby would surprise me any more after what I’ve been through in the way people in the game have supported me, but look where I am.”

Robby received a standing ovation from the 700-strong crowd at Twickenham when he appeared on stage at the awards, now in its third year.

And he added the amount of support received from the rugby community at home and elsewhere had left him almost lost for words.

He added: “Any man in that situation would have done the same thing. A hundred days ago I was in a coma, eight weeks ago I was getting fed by my best mate, ten weeks ago, my daughter said ‘if you can’t walk, dad, I’ll push you’, and she did.

“Four weeks ago, one of my best mates said they’d get me into private rehab and has arranged one of the biggest party fundraisers the Wirral has seen for rugby.

“I was dead for three weeks – they couldn’t bring me out of the coma, and my mum and dad were a week away from getting the question ‘should we turn it off?’

“I didn’t get my phone back until seven or eight weeks after – 99 per cent of the messages that came through were from rugby people. People who have never met me, never played against me, said ‘come on big fella, pull through’.

“I’ll even make the backs, that’s how hard I’m going to train! I want to go and squeeze and hug everyone.

“The whole place stood up and clapped me. They didn’t even do that when Lawrence and Chris go up. I didn’t see one face when I stood up.

“I’m not the hero, the families who have lost loved ones are the heroes, they’ve not shown any revenge or anything like that, but rugby is just different class isn’t it?”

Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer passionately support rugby at all levels. To help amateur clubs thrive, they have launched Crabbie’s Rugby Rewards. Find out how your club can earn kit for every bottle of Crabbie’s sold in your clubhouse at www.crabbiesrugby.co.uk