Wow! Last night I watched the Pride of Britain awards. It was a festival of smiles & tears from the red carpet through to the end credits. A mixture of celebrities and heroes graced the stage and the programme, as usual, didn’t disappoint.
All of the award winners had stories of outstanding courage, bravery or dedication. Often they are people you’ve never heard of and the winners are not seeking recognition. But without the #PrideofBritain awards we would never hear these amazing stories, from the emergency services to the ordinary person who could be your neighbour.
There were a couple of North West people that stood out for me.
First was little George Mathias who’s been fundraising for Alder Hey. Alder Hey is a children’s hospital close to our heart, in fact I’ve even been in there myself.
George wanted to do something to thank the hospital for saving the life of his baby brother after he slipped into a coma at only a few days old.
With his sponsored running this young man has raised over £35.000 for Alder Hey and already purchased four specially heated cots for the special baby care unit. George shows no sign of giving up yet, every mile is more money for the hospital and that’s what drives him.
Pride of Britain judges said:
George is an incredible young man, motivated by love for his brother. He had a brilliant idea, and the determination to make it happen. What’s wonderful is that the money he raised is already helping to save the lives of other babies.
Another inspirational story was that of Katie Walker. Katie suffered an horrific beating by her then boyfriend who broke every bone in her face. Katie had 3 months of surgery to rebuild her face and although the boyfriend went to jail Katie also suffered mental scars, and suffering from depression shut her self off from the world.
With counselling and help from the Prince’s Trust she rebuilt her life and now runs her own beauty salon in Liverpool. But what is different about Katie’s salon is she offers support to victims of violence.
Every year on the anniversary of the attack Katie re-posts the picture of her beaten face on social media, showing women there is a way out and a future and encouraging women to speak up about violence or controlling behaviour.
Pride of Britain judges said:
Katie is just so inspirational. What she suffered is absolutely horrifying, but she refused to let it grind her down, and uses her experiences to help and empower other women.
A lot of the stories were emotional, but my absolute favourite is the winner of the TSB Community Partner Award for #TSBlocalpride This is a heartwarming award and also my favourite as it highlights people who go out of their way to improve life of others in their local community. Being involved in my local community and WI I am inspired by the good ideas some people have.
Fraser Johnston and Cycling without Age: 20 year old Fraser spends his spare time in Falkirk taking care home residents out for a ride on his Trishaw bike which has a seat for two attached to the front. More than half a million older people only go outside once a week or less, something 20-year-old Fraser is determined to change. Funded by Crowdfunding he helped set up the Cycling Without Age scheme in March 2016, and now Fraser and a team of 30 volunteers have taken out over 150 care home residents, all aged over 85, many of whom are not mobile. Not only are they all out and about in the fresh air and enjoying the scenery, it also looks great fun.
This really interested me as The WI are currently taking on a challenge to tackle loneliness in local communities and I wish we could do something like this. People helping people is a good thing for all of us. It looks fun for everyone and well done to such a young man for thinking of it.
I have to say I needed a cuppa by the time the Pride of Britain Awards were over. I had smiled, laughed and cried through the whole thing, and absolutely loved it.
Roll on 2018
A collaboration with TSB Pride of Britain, all words and opinions are my own.