October 6th, 2009
Pride of Britain Awards: Frank Lampard chased for donation by fund-raising cancer boy Jake PeachLatest Hollywood Pictures, by sms4send.
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It was a moment that perfectly summed up the selfless spirit of the Mirror Pride of Britain awards.
Jake Peach, 12, picked up a Child of Courage honour as he battles leukaemia yet one of his first concerns was about how raising cash for fellow sufferers.
Soccer-mad Jake, who has already made s600,000 for Londons Great Ormond Hospital, said: I spotted Frank Lampard in the audience. Hopefully Ill persuade him to give money to my charity.
Jake, of Southend, Essex, spent a month in a coma after being diagnosed and had to learn to walk and speak again, a story that left many of the celebrity names in the audience close to tears.
In many ways that has for 11 years been the secret of the Pride of Britain awards.
Its the only gala night thats not about the stars but about ordinary people capable of extraordinary things.
Last night it made you realise that is also a much-nee
ded tonic for our country, a shot in the arm of national pride and self-belief.
Tess Daly, who along with husband Vernon Kay handed Jake his award, summed it up as she said emotionally: I watched his video and was sobbing.
This time last year hed been in a coma. But hes raised s600,000 for Great Ormond Street. Hes so inspirational.
Vernon gave Jake an England shirt signed by the entire Three Lions team and joked about his own struggling team: Your inspirational speaking is amazing.
Can you have a word with Bolton Wanderers for 10 minutes?
Who among us could feel sorry for ourselves after hearing of his battle?
Or that of Levana Hanson, who lost her legs to meningitis? An eight-year-old girl who smiles a toothy grin despite unbearable daily pain and tells Girls Aloud: The reason I dont have legs is Im special.
Who can doubt the courage and strength of our armed forces when men like Royal Marine Sgt Noel Connolly are willing to hurl themselves on to a Taliban suicide bomber packed with 154lb of explosives?
Ray Winstone, who gave him his award, thought he was a hard man until he met the sergeant who saved 30 of his comrades.
On a rainy night in London, in the middle of a recession and a story of a nursery nurse who horrifically abused childrens trust the Pride of Britain Awards spoke up for the decent majority of our country.
Who could not be inspired by Teacher of the Year Jonathan Healey, who used Maths raps and football results to liven up sums at a tough Yorkshire school?
Corrie star Ryan Thomas TVs Jason Grimshaw said: Im just gutted we didnt have a teacher like you when I was at school. I might have learnt something.
Or fail to be moved by disabled Michael Seery, 65, who tackled a knife-wielding robber in his local bookies?
Then there are women like Jasvinder Sanghera, 44, whose charity Karma Nirvana has helped men and women fleeing forced marriages and domestic violence. Kids like Kelsey Deacon, who aged just four leapt into a scalding bath to drag baby sister Toni to safety.
Officers like Royal Military policeman Major Phil Packer who, despite the life-changing injuries he sustained in Iraq, has raised s1million to support soldiers.
Then theres MRI scanner inventor Sir Peter Mansfield, 75, handed a Lifetime Achievement Award by Gordon Brown and wife Sarah. The PM told him: Theres not much better than winning a Nobel Prize, except a Pride of Britain award.
Each year the awards leave Carol Vorderman, host for 11 years, moved to tears.
Each year, the judges this year including Sarah Brown, Dame Kelly Holmes, ex-Spice Girl Emma Bunton and ITNs Mark Austin struggle to choose from thousands of acts of courage.
This years gala, on ITV1 at 8pm tomorrow, recognises dramatic heroism and also the quiet courage of working daily to change the world around you.
Like Doris Long, who discovered a passion for abseiling and raising money at 95.
Like Eunice McGhie-Belgrave, 75, who started a project to help kids plant vegetables and stay out of trouble. Or breast cancer sufferer Kristin Hallenga, 23, who has toured music festivals to raise awareness of the disease.
Chris Saunders bravery was of a different kind, asking the Princes Trust to help him after his heroin addiction and 176 convictions.
He has now helped countless youngsters change their lives.
He met Judge Ian MacKintosh, who had jailed him for the ninth and final time and made him see the error of his ways. Chris said: My friend died three weeks after this judge sent me to prison. That could so easily have been me.
Every year, these awards are all about extraordinary individuals, yet the show is always more than the sum of its parts.
Anyone needing a shot in the arm of national pridewatch Pride of Britain.
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