Stars turn out to honor everyday heroes at awards ceremony
A FATHER who made a heartfelt plea for peace after his son was killed during this summer's riots was one of the many unsung heroes honoured at the annual Pride of Britain Awards last night.
Tariq Jahan received a special recognition award for the compassion, dignity and calm he showed in the aftermath of the death of his son Haroon, 21, who was one of three men mown down by a car while trying to protect their community from looters in Birmingham during the unrest.
The van driver accepted the award and made an emotional speech in front of a host of celebrities including Cheryl Cole and comedian James Corden at the ceremony in central London.
Mr Jahan, who called for peace just hours after his son's death amid fears that revenge attacks would spark a tide of racial violence, praised the people who had offered support following the tragedy.
"The response from the country has been phenomenal," he said at the ceremony.
"I never realised that there were that many good people in this country.
"We seem to emphasise the bad, but never emphasise the good."
The event, which was held at the Grosvenor House hotel in Park Lane and hosted by Carol Vorderman, featured stories of heroism and courage.
Tom Phillips, 11, from Wales, was presented with the award for the Child or Teenager of Courage after he found himself in a life or death situation when a raging bull attacked his father, Andrew.
The bull tossed Mr Phillips into the air like a rag doll and trampled his body. Tom, who was just 10 at the time, made a split second decision that saved both their lives, jumping behind the wheel of a tractor and nudging the bull away.
Tom, who was presented with the award by Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, said: "It was really scary and terrifying."
The award for Fundraiser of the Year went to daredevil grandad Tom Lackey.
The 91-year-old helped raise more than £1 million for charity with a string of record-breaking wing-walking stunts.
Clutching his gong, Mr Lackey was bold enough to turn down the offer of being joined on a wing-walk by model Elle Macpherson.
The father-of-three and grandad-of-two told the 6ft Australian: "Carol Vorderman asked me as well. I think you'll be too tall to do a wing-walk to be honest."
Amongst the celebrities who attended the awards, which are in their 13th year, were the stars of Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor.
The Littlewoods.com Young Fundraiser prize went to seven-year-old George Major, from Berkshire, who spent the last two years in and out of hospital for gruelling acute lymphoblastic leukaemia treatment.
Yet through sheer determination he started a fundraising campaign called the George's Marvellous Medicine Fund, and has now raised more than £20,000 in aid of charities close to his heart.
George, who is now in remission, was presented his award, along with a signed Arsenal football shirt, by the judges of The X Factor.
Gary Barlow commented: "He's amazing, absolutely incredible, totally inspiring.
"The whole story of what he's done and the initiative is absolutely brilliant, and we're all so proud of him."
The audience were also shown a video of former X Factor judge Cole on a visit to British troops in Afghanistan, where she was taught how to fire weapons and described how she had "just made a bomb".
The forces' sweetheart was filmed getting behind the steering wheel of a new Jackal armoured vehicle and revealed "I've learnt so much".
She added: "It's incredible to see the dedication and commitment of these brave men and women.
"Everyone made me feel very welcome."
But her visit turned sour when one of the troops was hurt by an enemy attack and "suddenly it all felt far too real".
As the soldier was being led away on a stretcher, a clearly shaken Cole said: "I can't believe it. I'm shocked. That's been the biggest wake-up call in my life."
The Daily Mirror's Pride of Britain Awards will be broadcast on ITV1 on Wednesday at 8pm.