The Duke of Cambridge yesterday evening attended the Pride of Britain awards to honour some of the most heroic people and acts of 2017.
It is the night each year when unsung heroes from all walks of life are honoured by stars from film, music, television, sport, politics – and Royalty. The Mirror newspaper’s Pride of Britain Awards recognises bravery, sacrifice, heroic and extraordinary acts by everyday people.
Prince William was on hand to award groups who were involved with perhaps the most poignant events of 2017, joined by a host of famous faces, including Amanda Holden, Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May, Rochelle Humes, Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart, Denise van Outen and Chuka Umunna.
Prior to the awards ceremony, the Duke went backstage to greet some of the recipients of the awards, and sought out five-year-old Suzie McCash for a chat. Suzie saved her mum’s life when she was only four: her mother was having a severe allergic reaction and calling 999 got the life-saving treatment needed.
The Royal told Suzie, crouching down: “I have a four-year-old called George and if I gave him a telephone I do not know what he would do.
“And do you know what? I’m going to have a conversation with my George about what to do because of what you’ve done. It’s really important.”
— Victoria Murphy (@QueenVicMirror) October 30, 2017
Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran joined William to pay tribute to the young survivors and NHS heroes of the Manchester Arena suicide bomb attack.
The evil attack on 22nd May this year, targeted excited youngsters who were at Manchester Arena to see Ariana Grande. At the climax of the concert, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in his backpack, killing 22 people and wounding a further 250 – many with life changing injuries. The youngest victim was only eight-years-old.
Taking to the stage to be greeted by Prince William and the pop star, it was clear that some of the young recipients were still recovering from their injuries – Hollie Booth’s legs were encased in supports and walking with the aid of crutches, beamed as she made her way onto the stage to huge applause and cheers from the star studded audience.
She was joined by other young survivors, as well as NHS medics and surgeons, who worked tirelessly to save as many lives as they could.
Prince William added: “I can’t take my hat off enough to how brave you have been.”
Singer Ed Sheeran added: “I have played that arena before and it felt important to be here.”
William remained on stage for the next award that went to a group of people involved in an equally dreadful and traumatic event, just a few weeks later. Community groups from the Grenfell Tower fire, led by Shahin Sadifi, were given special recognition by the Prince who tells them:’Thank you for the hard work you’ve all done, the community spirit you’ve shown, the coming together as you did so quickly after Grenfell.
“I’m just so sorry that such an awful event ever occurred. What you have shown as a community that is truly inspiring. You have been a true example of humanity.
“I can only image how difficult and hard it’s been for you.”
The Duke of Cambridge accompanied The Queen to shortly after the tragedy, meeting survivors and their families as well as emergency responders and hospital staff. Prince Charles also made an appearance to see how the survivors were getting on, before William and Harry returned recently to see how mental health charities were supporting the community with help from the Royal Foundation.
Shahin Sadifi said: “We would like to thank everyone here today, we would like to thank all the volunteers and the community organisations that have been supporting us since the morning of the fire.
“Most of all [we want to thank] the British public as you are truly the pride of Britain.”
He says many people are still waiting for loved ones to be identified four and a half months later and adds: “We need your support for justice.”
The Prince next awarded the brave firefighters who tackled one of the worst and most dangerous fires peacetime crews have ever had to tackle on this country.
Joined on stage by Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield to present the ‘This Morning Emergency Services Award’, William praised the crews who put their lives at risk to save residents trapped in the devastating blaze in west London. He told them: “Many people forget the daily grind you go through on a daily basis.”
Of course, the future King has first hand experience of the emergency services dedication and work, having only recently left his job as a pilot with the East Anglian air ambulance service, to enable him to devote his time fully to royal duties.
The ceremony will be aired on ITV on 7th November.