BY KYM MARSH
Host, Pride of Manchester Awards
Pride of Britain is coming to Manchester - and I could not be more excited.
I have presented awards to Pride of Britain winners in London, I have sat on the judging panel, and for the last two years I have hosted Pride of Britain’s regional events around the country.
But I think taking to the stage for the inaugural Pride of Manchester Awards in May will be my proudest moment yet.
It will be an amazing night when the whole city comes together to celebrate our amazing unsung heroes.
The audience will be packed with famous actors, singers, TV presenters, and sporting heroes.
But the real stars of the show will be the winners, those heroes, young and old, who are selflessly transforming the lives of others.
I know from Pride of Britain what a privilege it will be to meet them, and to celebrate their astonishing achievements. Our winners are always so different, but they all share one quality - they are hugely modest about what they have done.
As well as being honoured at the glittering awards dinner at the Principal Hotel, 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.
And over the years, amazing winners from Manchester have touched the hearts of the nation.
One of the most moving Pride of Britain moments came in 2017 when Prince William and Ed Sheeran joined young survivors of the Manchester Arena bomb as they were reunited on stage with the medics who had saved their lives, and those of so many others.
And just last year, little Ella Chadwick stole the show with her cheeky chat as she received her Child of Courage Award from the X Factor judges.
Ella has raised thousands of pounds to say thank you to the doctors and nurses who had looked after her at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
She also spent her summer holidays making 250 brightly coloured get well cards with the hand-written message, 'Hope I Made You Smile. Love Ella,' to hand out to all of the patients at the hospital.
I’ll also never forget Karen Johnson, from Rochdale, who raised millions of pounds for research into the genetic condition that killed her two sons before they reached their teens.
The way she devoted her life to helping others, even in the midst of her own grief, is truly inspirational, and I was thrilled to see her receive her Pride of Britain Award in 2016.
Right now, all across Manchester, there are similarly incredible people quietly going about their business of helping others and transforming people’s lives.
I am so glad Pride of Manchester will give us the chance to thank these exceptional people for making our city a better place.
I can’t wait to meet them.