The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards air on Thursday, and celebrate some of the most amazing, brave and selfless people in our society. The show, which is being presented by Ashley Banjo and Carol Vorderman, has us in tears every year, so tissues at the ready! With Prince Charles, Ant and Dec and Ed Sheeran among those taking part in the special evening, see the full list of the wonderful winners here…
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Lifetime Achievement – Rosemary Cox, 82, Wolverhampton
After their 24-year-old son Peter died in 1989 following a brain tumour, Rosemary and John Cox saw the need for a register for people who wish to donate their organs. Peter had asked before his death for his organs to be used to help others and his sacrifice saved or transformed the lives of 17 people.
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But his parents found that although patients in need of a transplant were listed on a central NHS computer, there was no equivalent register for potential donors. Over the next five years, the couple from Wolverhampton and their daughter Christine launched their campaign. They have helped to save thousands of lives.
Special Recognition – Rob Allen, 34, Northampton
Rob and his wife Charlotte’s third child Niamh was stillborn, days before her due date in 2017. They were helped through their loss by the stillbirth charity Sands, but at one meeting, Rob counted 24 women and three men.
Realising that grieving dads were finding it difficult to reach out for help, he organised a charity football match to raise funds for Sands, but also giving men an opportunity to come together and talk about their loss. The one-off game, featuring bereaved fathers, grandfathers, uncles and brothers, raised £6,000, but the emotional benefit for the players was even more significant.
This Morning Emergency Services Award – Stephen Warton, 53, Cumbria
Kacper Krauze, 13, had been attempting to swim across the River Eden in Appleby-in-Westmorland in February 2019 when the icy water sent his body into shock. Crew manager Stephen, a painter and decorator, and firefighter John Bell went into the river.
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After a short search they located Kacper under two to three metres of water. Unable to dive down and reach him due to his safety gear, Stephen went against protocol and took off his flotation equipment and helmet so he could dive fully and bring the boy to the surface. Kacper had been underwater for about 25 minutes was placed in an induced coma, and has since made a steady recovery.
Good Morning Britain Young Fundraiser – Hughie Higginson, ten, and Freddie Xavi, 11, Lancashire
Best pals have raised more than £200,000 after Hughie was diagnosed with Leukaemia and Freddie vowed to help him thank his doctors and nurses.
Hughie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia last September and began three years of treatment at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. He wanted to say thank you to the medics looking after him so he signed up for the hospital charity’s fundraising walk.
On the day he was too ill to take part, which is when best pal Freddie stepped up. He devised his own fundraising challenge on behalf of his pal, running 2km every day in the 50 days leading up to Christmas.
He completed the final 2km on Christmas morning, pounding the streets before opening his presents. Hughie summoned all his strength to join his mate on the final stretch so they could cross the line together. The pair have now raised more than £220,000.
Child of Courage – Harmonie-Rose Allen, seven, Bath
Quadruple amputee given a 10% chance of survival as a toddler has inspired the nation with her courage and unbreakable spirit. Harmonie-Rose was ten months old, and had recently taken her first steps, when she started coughing and struggling for breath… Meningococcal septicaemia had damaged her legs, arms and the tip of her nose. Since then, and after more than ten operations, she has beaten the odds.
In 2019, she crossed the finish line of the Bath Half Marathon on her prosthetics, raising £6,450 for the children’s charity, Time Is Precious. During the first lockdown in 2020, she completed her 2.6 challenge, tackling six things doctors said she’d never do because of her disabilities, 26 times. These were running, singing, drawing, swimming, gymnastics and jumping, and she raised more than £76,000 for Meningitis Now.
Her latest challenge this year was to scale a climbing wall 100 times and run 500m for the first time on her blades in a bid to raise £20,000 for an accessible playground. In March she received her first bionic arm. One of her first jobs was to paint her new nails and it also means she can hold her mum's hand for the first time since she was a baby.
Spirit of Adventure – Max Woosey, 11, North Devon
'Tent Boy' Max has spent more than 500 nights sleeping under canvas, raising £640,000 for his local hospice. Neighbour and family friend Rick Abbott was terminally ill with cancer when he gave Max a tent, and told him to "go have an adventure". When Rick passed away, Max decided to do a sponsored camp out to raise money for the hospice which had cared for his friend in his final weeks.
Now, nearly 18 months later, he is still on his fundraising mission. At 8pm each night, the 11-year-old puts on his pyjamas, collects up his teddies, the Beano and his torch, says goodnight to his parents and makes his way to the garden.
The marathon camper has now been sleeping outdoors for more than 500 nights, braving sub-zero frosts, heatwaves, and even Storm Bella. He has raised more than £640,000 for North Devon Hospice, enough to pay for 15 community nurses and cover more than half the hospice’s estimated losses due to the pandemic.
Special Recognition – Gee Walker, 67, Liverpool
The brutal racist murder of Anthony Walker in 2005 shocked the nation. The 18-year-old aspiring lawyer was chased from a bus stop in Huyton, Merseyside and killed with an ice pick in an unprovoked attack. His mum Gee refused to let her life, and Anthony’s memory, be consumed by bitterness, declaring of his killers: "I forgive them. I don’t hate them. Hate is what killed my son. I am in enough pain. Why take on and carry about hate and anger as well?”
Her actions in the following 16 years have been just as powerful as her words. She founded the Anthony Walker Foundation in 2006 to combat racism and offer a space for people to feel safe after suffering racial abuse. In the last five years, the Foundation has worked with nearly 40,000 young people through educational and outreach programmes in schools. Its victim support services have also helped nearly 10,000 people who have experienced hate crime while volunteers have engaged with thousands in a bid to build safer, stronger communities.
Environmental Champion – Amy and Ella Meek, 18 and 16, Nottingham
Amy and Ella are the founders of youth social action group Kids Against Plastic, which is now a registered charity. It calls for action against plastic pollution and encourages individuals, schools and businesses to be more ‘plastic clever’ and ditch single-use plastics where possible. So far more than 1,000 schools and 50 cafes, businesses, festivals and councils have committed to being ‘plastic clever’.
The sisters have given TED talks, spoken with leaders in the aviation industry about reducing their plastic footprint, addressed politicians in the House of Commons and spoken at the United Nations’ Young Activist Summit in December 2019. They've personally collected 100,000 pieces of rubbish, one for every sea mammal killed by plastic pollution every year, and run a scheme to champion other anti-plastic activists who do the same around the country. Their first book, Be Plastic Clever, has just been published.
Prince’s Trust Young Achiever – Hassan Alkhawam, 23, Northern Ireland
When Hassan Alkhawam, aged 23, and his family fled their home in Syria due to the war, they were given refugee status and rehomed in Northern Ireland in 2017. Since arriving in the country, Hassan is now studying Software Engineering at university and has been a key worker in Tesco during the Covid 19 pandemic. Hassan took part in the The Prince’s Trust Get into Retail programme, a training and mentoring scheme that gives young people the skills, experience, and confidence they need to find a job.
After completing the four-week programme he was offered a job and started working just before the pandemic began. As well as working part time and studying, Hassan is a voluntary Director of a local charity, NI Hyatt, that supports vulnerable members of the refugee and migrant communities. He has recently completed courses in advocacy and interpreting so that he can help this community settle into life in Northern Ireland.
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