Pride of Britain Awards director Peter Willis, who founded the awards in 1999, explains what they are all about...
Q: What makes Pride of Britain so special?
Pride of Britain celebrates the achievements of truly remarkable people who make our world a better place. It's the biggest national event of its kind in the UK.
Hosted by Carol Vorderman, our Awards attract an audience of around seven million viewers every year in a primetime slot on the ITV1 network in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - making it the highest rated awards show of its kind on British television.
It also receives huge coverage on Daybreak, the ITV1 network, the national press, national and regional radio and national magazines.
Many of the biggest names in showbusiness, sport and politics attend the glittering annual ceremony at the London Television Centre.
Among those who have taken part are HRH Prince Charles, Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Victoria and David Beckham, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Sir Paul McCartney, Bono, President Bill Clinton, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Richard Branson, Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams.
However, the stars are never there to receive the accolades - but to present them to real-life heroes whose inspiring stories are brought to life with powerful "reconstruction" films.
Pride of Britain has been described as the most uplifting awards ceremony of the year. And that's how we want it to stay.
Q: Who are the Pride of Britain winners?
Our winners come from all walks of life and from all age groups, but they have one thing in common - they inspire others...
Whatever the danger, they brave it. They care for others more than themselves. And whatever the odds they beat them. They say they are ordinary people, but their extraordinary acts show they don't know the meaning of the word.
Categories range from courageous children and adults to inspiring members of the emergency services, teachers and carers or careworkers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Winners of our Lifetime Achievement Award have included truly exceptional Brits such as Peter Benenson, who started Amnesty International, Chad Varah, who founded the Samaritans, Sir Alec Jefferies, who pioneered genetic fingerprinting, and Robert Winton, who saved many Jewish children from the Holocaust.
You can read their stories as well as about all our other remarkable winners in the winners section of this website.
Q: How are the Pride of Britain winners found?
Every year our team of full-time researchers spends months reading through more than 20,000 stories to draw up the shortlist.
Many nominations come in from members of the public in response to appeals in national and regional press and magazines, on Daybreak, ITV, ITV regions and on 60 million lottery tickets. You can pick up a
nominations form, fill it in and post it in the Pride of Britain box at your
Bank, Travel or Pharmacy branch anywhere in the UK.
Nominations are received by post, email and through this website. You are welcome to nominate someone you feel deserves recognition on this website right now.
We also receive nominations from the UK's emergency services and hundreds of charities and voluntary organisations. In addition, our research team scan newspaper and magazine libraries for nominees.
Q: So who decides who wins?
The majority of the award winners are decided by our national judging panel from a shortlist of contenders. This committee includes celebrated figures in national life, as well as eminent experts in the fields of medicine and teaching, a representative of the emergency services, and a former Pride of Britain winner.
Our judges have included IVF pioneer Lord Robert Winston, Dame Kelly Holmes, Sir Richard Branson, author Sarah Brown and Britain's top policeman, Met Commisioner Sir Ian Blair. For more details on national judging panels,click on Judges, above.
A number of the awards are not decided by the national judging panel. These are the exceptions:
The Prince's Trust Young Achiever of The Year Award is selected by the Trust's own judging panel, which is chaired by the Trust's Chief Executive Martina Milburn and includes a Pride of Britain representative.
The award for Most Inspiring Public Figure is decided by Daily Mirror readers.
Q: When did the Pride of Britain awards begin?
Launched by the Daily Mirror, the very first Pride of Britain Awards was held at the Dorchester Hotel in London's Park Lane in May 1999. It was hosted, as it has been every year since, by the incomparable Carol Vorderman.
The idea took off immediately. The winners included Donna Marie McGillion who had narrowly survived the Omagh bomb a year earlier. And among the guests were Tony Blair, who had only been Prime Minister for two years, Sir Paul McCartney, Victoria Beckham, and Queen Noor of Jordan.
ITV decided to screen the event from the following year, 2000. It exceeded all expectations, attracting10 million viewers.
HRH Prince Charles launched the Prince's Trust Young Achiever of The Year category at Pride of Britain 2001 and has kindly supported and been involved with our Awards every year since.
Q: Where can I buy tickets to the awards?
The 2012 Pride of Britain Awards will be an outstanding event, and a fantastic opportunity to entertain clients, reward staff or enjoy with family and friends. A limited number of corporate tables are available for purchase, varying in price between £4,000 - £6,000 + VAT. Guests will enjoy a 3 course meal, 1/2 bottle of wine per person and an opportunity to attend the VIP drinks reception, all in addition to the awards ceremony. Tables will be sold on a first come first served basis. Should you wish to enquire further in regards to availability please contact the event manager, Vairi Smith on 0207 293 2168 or email email@example.com.
Individual tickets are not available for purchase however we do offer a limited number of VIP seats in competitions which are open for everyone to enter. Feel free to enter the draw for tickets.
Winners will be selected at random and notified in early October.