1 OCTOBER 2008

Celebrities from the worlds of music, acting and politics gathered on Tuesday to pay tribute to those they called "the real stars", ordinary people who'd performed feats of extraordinary bravery.

Even the rain couldn't affect the stellar turn-out at the Daily Mirror's Pride of Britain awards as Chris Tarrant and his girlfriend Jane Bird led the VIP contigent, which also included Strictly contender Rachel Stevens.

Inside, they heard tales of enormous courage, like that of eight-year-old wheelchair user Tilly Griffiths, who says she "feels free as a butterfly" despite living with a severe muscle-wasting illness. Then there was Carl Duval, 17, who risked his life to save a stranger who'd collapsed on a live rail line in the path of an express train.

And it was clear more than one VIP guest arrived expecting an emotional occasion. Richard Branson said he'd "got the tissues" at the ready, while Spice Girls Emma Bunton and Geri Halliwell were "both wearing waterproof mascara".

Gary Lineker, who had his pretty fiancée Danielle Bux on his arm, said: "I would never normally admit it, but boys are allowed to cry. I certainly will be tonight".

Photo: ©
The rain couldn't overshadow the positive spirit brightening Tuesday's Pride Of Britain awards. Chris Tarrant and his girlfriend Jane Bird were among well-known guests celebrating ordinary heroes at the London eventPhoto: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
Photo: ©
Rachel Stevens also took time out from her gruelling Strictly schedule to help honour the courageous people being feted Photo: © Getty Images