Lucy Knight needed a trial run to go back to the scene of a crime that almost claimed her life.

The Good Samaritan yesterday received a bravery medal at the Northcote shopping centre where she thwarted a bag-snatch attempt and was left fighting for her life. "I'm nervous just to be here," Knight said. "I popped in last week, into the carpark, to make sure I could [do it]."

The 43-year-old mother-of-six was left with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain after being punched as she tried to stop a teenager stealing a handbag from an elderly woman last September.

Knight's husband, Peter Thomas, said the family was contacted about the award by the Northcote Business Association.

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It was presented by Safer North Community Trust spokesman Wayne Williams. "Lucy Knight took it on her own to interfere and stop what was wrong and make it right," he said. "There aren't many brave people in our communities that we get to hear about and we don't champion them enough."

The award was given yesterday as part of the Chinese New year celebrations. Accepting it, Knight said the support she had received from the community since the attack had been mind-blowing.

"Everyone that was here when the incident happened and helped me went above and beyond the call of duty."

Knight's attacker, 17-year-old Hendrix Hauwai, was sentenced to four years and nine months imprisonment earlier this month.

Donations to a Givealittle page raised the family nearly $270,000.