BY KYM MARSH
Host, Pride of Birmingham Awards
When I stand on that Pride of Birmingham stage in March and look out at the audience, I will see a host of famous actors, singers, TV presenters, and sporting heroes.
But the real stars of Pride of Birmingham are the winners, those heroes, young and old, who are selflessly transforming the lives of others. It is such a privilege to meet them, and to celebrate their astonishing achievements. They are all so different, but they all share one quality - they are hugely modest about what they have done. And that is why we need you to tell us about them in the first place.
The Pride of Birmingham Awards, in partnership with TSB, celebrate amazing unsung heroes from the city and the surrounding area. It’s a truly wonderful event, and I love being part of it, from the lovely warm Brummie welcome I get from everyone I meet, to the most important people - the winners. So please tell us who you think they should be.
Perhaps you know someone who is quietly transforming their community to improve the lives of those around them, or someone who has put themselves in danger to save someone else, or an inspirational campaigner. They could be six or 106 - heroism has no age barrier. And they could have changed one life or changed the world.
We are looking for amazing fundraisers, children and young people who have overcome adversity to help others, and people who have displayed heart-stopping courage in a split second, perhaps risking their own safety to save a stranger. And of course, we honour the amazing men and women of our emergency services who go beyond the call of duty to keep us all safe.
Our team looks at every nomination we receive, before compiling a shortlist for the Pride of Birmingham judging panel who choose the winners. As well as being honoured at the glittering awards dinner in Birmingham, all our regional winners go forward to the judging process for the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB.
Since the first Pride of Britain in 1999, royalty, prime ministers, and hundreds of leading figures from showbusiness, sport, politics and the arts have all taken part. The show is broadcast every year in a primetime slot on ITV, and it has served up dozens of truly unforgettable moments, including the meeting of two global icons In 2013 when David Beckham presented a Teenager of Courage Award to Malala, the Birmingham schoolgirl who defied the Taliban and inspired the world. Dudley’s Lenny Henry honoured Britain’s Ebola medics in 2015 after they risked their lives to save thousands.
And over the years, amazing winners from Birmingham have touched the hearts of the nation, including Teenager of Courage Moin Younis. Nobody who saw him at Pride of Birmingham in 2017 was surprised that he stole the show at Pride of Britain later that year with his cheeky jokes to Prince William and England football manager Gareth Southgate. Young Fundraiser Amelia Gebruers from Solihull raised more than £20,000 for charity after her dad and brother were both diagnosed with serious illnesses. After presenting her award in 2015, X Factor supremo Simon Cowell said the 10-year-old, who had previously won a Pride of Birmingham Award, was the bravest little girl he had ever met.
And one of Pride of Britain’s most emotional moments came when Stephen Sutton’s mother Jane, also a Pride of Birmingham winner, accepted a posthumous award on behalf of her son for his inspirational £5 million fundraising campaign.
Right now, across Birmingham, there are similarly incredible people quietly going about their business of helping others and transforming people’s lives. They aren’t going to shout about what they do, so you’ll have to do it for them. If you know someone who deserves to join me on that stage in March, tell us about them, and nominate today. However old or young they are, wherever they live, we would love to thank those exceptional people for making Birmingham a better place.
I can’t wait to meet them.