AFTER THOUSANDS of nominations were whittled down to a short list our Pride of Britain judges were left with a daunting task, choosing our 2010 winners.
The entries poured in via email and the post and a team of researchers sifted through them leaving the final decision to the 12 men and women of the panel.
They gathered around a table in the library of the London Marriott County Hall where they heard stories of generosity, courage and triumph over adversity.
When it came to the Outstanding Bravery category Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson backed an off-duty policeman who saved 66 people from a burning bus. "I might be
accused of bias but PC Colin Swan seems to be to be particularly worthy. To act on your own is very brave."
Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace was particularly impressed with James Pout who rescued a fellow passenger from the tube tracks, seconds before the train came into the station. "It's everybody's worst nightmare and to go onto the track, a live track, and pull him out just in time is amazing."
Adrian Chiles was especially moved by the story of Littlewoods.com Young Fundraiser Cameron Small who, despite his own illness, has raised over £950,000 for the hospital that treated him. "There is a kid who has really been through the mill but has a selflessness which really puts other people to shame. Could I do what he did, I don't think so," the Daybreak host said.
Professor Stephen Field was hugely impressed by Fundraiser of the Year Judy Ledger who has raised over £8 million in aid of premature babies after losing three newborns of her own. "What this woman has done by both raising money for equipment and training is incredibly important."
Teacher of the year Rachel Dixon, who's inspired schoolkids from one of London's most deprived areas through her school samba band, was a favourite of Dame Kelly Holmes. "It is easy not to get involved but this woman has worked to make things better and has really turned things around - she's an inspiration."
Our Pride of Britain judging panel chose the majority of winners however Daybreak viewers and Daily Mirror readers voted for the Daybreak Emergency Services winner.
Independent judging panels across across ITV regions voted for the ITV Feelgood Factor winner - people who help improve the lives of others in their community - to be announced at tonight's awards.
The Prince's Trust Young Achiever Award, recognizing individuals who have turned around their own lives then made a difference to others, was selected by a special committee chaired by their Chief Executive, Martina Milburn and including This Morning presenter Philip Schofield, Pride of Britain producer Tom Gould, Lucy Pogson of the Prince's Trust and Peter Willis.
After much discussion and debate, when the judging was over, Simon Cowell summed up the feeling around the table, "These awards are about what is Great in Great Britain."
Carol Vorderman added: "No matter what happens to any of us, we need only look to the people nominated and who win these awards to see what we could all achieve."
Mark Newton Jones CEO of Shop Direct Group, the parent company of our sponsor Littlewoods.com, added: "You hear stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It is really heart warming to hear from proper heroes around the country. It restores your faith in humanity."
The music executive, television producer and entrepreneur Simon Cowell is renowned as the judge of X Factor and Britain's Got Talent.
The presenter and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant who wakes up the nation on ITV's new early morning show Daybreak.
TV and radio journalist co-hosts Daybreak with Christine and presents football coverage for ITV Sport.
PROFESSOR STEPHEN FIELD
Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners since 2007, Professor Field also practise as a GP in Birmingham.
Chief Executive Officer of Shop Direct Group, the parent company of our sponsors Littlewoods.com
TV favourite Carol Vorderman has been the host of Pride of Britain since it began in 1999.
Richard has been editor of the Daily Mirror since 2004 and was previously deputy editor of the Sunday Mirror. He was voted GQ Editor Of The Year in 2006.
The Associate Editor of the Daily Mirror is also the founder of the Pride Of Britain Awards and chairs the judging panel each year.
The Emmy award-winning journalist is now ITV's news anchorman after joining ITN in 1986 and specialising in foreign affairs. It's his third year as a judge.
Creative Director of London Factual at ITV, Tim returns for a sixth year as Executive Producer of The Pride Of Britain television show on ITV1.
SIR PAUL STEPHENSON
As Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Paul is the head of Scotland Yard and the UK's most senior police officer. He joined Lancashire police force in 1975.
DAME KELLY HOLMES
The double Olympic Gold medallist was made a Dame in 2005. She is the government-backed National Sports Champion.
image to enlarge