We’re delighted to be hosting our sixth Amplifon Awards for Brave Britons.
The awards celebrate the achievements of exceptional people and animals from all walks of life, of all ages and from all over the United Kingdom.
The final 4 of each category have now been chosen and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, October 5th 2021
Created in honour of our founder, World War II hero Major Charles Holland, the awards recognise members of the public, community and charity champions and members of the armed forces and emergency services who have shown remarkable courage.
PROFILES FOR PROGRAMME 2021
Act Of Courage:
Artan Mahmood saved his neighbour’s six-year-old son from a savage dog attack. Arjun Grewal was mauled as he walked home from school with his mum and two-year-old sister in Dagenham, Bedfordshire. Artan dashed to Arjun’s rescue when he heard his screams. First he beat off the dog and scooped up the little boy. But the dog jumped on Artan’s back and kept biting at the boy. Artan only released the grip of its jaws by hitting it with a bin before carrying Arjun into his house. While Arjun was temporarily blinded, suffered two broken ribs and bites all over his body his life had been saved by Artan.
Dr Ian Roberts
Critical care and anaesthesia consultant and F1 chief medical rescue coordinator Dr Ian Roberts ran into a ball of flames to drag racing driver Romain Grosjean from his burning car in the Bahrain GP. Dr Roberts, 58, honorary visiting specialist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, was following the cars in the medical vehicle when he saw a massive flame ahead. Fully kitted in flame-proof uniform, he jumped from the support car and, ordering a marshall where to point the extinguisher, he pulled Haas driver Grosjean from his car. Miraculously, Grosjean only suffered second degree burns to his hands.
Triathlete Darcy Pell, 31, was on a 10-mile training run when he heard shouts from a group of people who had seen a dog fall through the ice on a frozen lake in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. Fully clothed the experienced cold-water swimmer, from nearby Featherstone, first waded and then swam breaking the ice on his way before grabbing the drowning dog. Once he returned the dog to its owner security engineer Darcy took a coat from his training partner who had supported him from the bank and carried on his run to help re-heat his body.
Weymouth fishing boat skipper David Miller saved the life of his teenage crew member Jordan Coulter when their boat Ocean Echo capsized as they were returning to harbour after weather had turned bad off Portland Bill. David, 46, was initially trapped in the wheelhouse under water but despite suffering a head injury he managed to force his way free and swim to the surface. Jordan had taken heed of David shouting at him to hang onto the boat at all costs as it went over and when David retrieved the liferaft he dragged Jordan on to it. After releasing flares they were rescued by HMS Westminster
One of oldest people in Britain Joan Willett celebrated her 104th birthday by trekking 17 miles during her lockdown exercise breaks walking up and down the hill near her care home in Hastings, East Sussex. Retired teacher Joan, now 105, raised more than £60,000 for the British Heart Foundation. She chose the charity because she had life-saving heart surgery 20 years ago which has allowed her to reach her impressive age. Initially, she set a target of £500 but following an interview on BBC Breakfast more than £20,000 flooded in in just one hour!
Great-grandad Jack Hearn got his 97th birthday wish when he was awarded is 10th Dan black belt in judo – the oldest person in Britain to achieve the accolade. Jack, of Cramlington, Northumberland, is thought to be the oldest active judo instructor in the world. He took up judo 70 years ago in 1951 and three years later he and his brother Bob opened their own judo club. Since then he has coached people who have gone on to compete at high ranking championships and has refereed international competitions across Europe. He adopted the Japanese name Hoko Jun (North Shield) at competitions and still uses it when teaching.
A keen athlete since his teenage years 88-year-old Laurence Brophy became the oldest man to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats and back again! And that was the second time in a year that he did it. Retired French teacher Laurence, of Pencoed, Bridgend, South Wales, thought he had achieved the feat last year but discovered after completing the gruelling challenge that a cyclist a few months older had beaten him to it. This time Laurence slept rough for most of the 25 nights he was away to raise awareness of homelessness and homeless charity Llamau where is daughter Katy works.
Grandfather-of-four John Starbrook is Egham in Surrey’s own action man and at the age of 90 registered again for the London Marathon this year having already run more than 30. For several years John has been the oldest runner in the London Marathon and has a trophy named in his honour at his local athletics club – the Runnymede Runners. John, who was a wartime evacuee, has raised more than £40,000 for Age UK since his first start in the marathon aged 53. He is also a keen swimmer having played water polo for many years and is a member of his local gym.
Against All Odds
Swimming teacher Jasmine Harrison became the youngest woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean when she completed the 3,000 mile journey from La Gomera, in the Canary Islands, to Antigua, in the Caribbean, aged just 21. Jasmine, from Thirsk, North Yorkshire, completed the journey in 70 days, three hours and 48 minutes beaten the previous record that had stood for 11 years. Her crossing wasn’t without difficulty as she capsized just two days before crossing the finishing line injuring her elbow in the process. During the crossing she rowed for two hours and rested or slept for two hours in rotation.
Sgt Duncan Slater
Double amputee Sgt Duncan Slater has not only learned to live with his disability but has courageously defeated any obstacles that have laid in his way. Since he lost both legs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2009, while serving with the RAF Regiment, he has cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats; completed the London Marathon; become the first double amputee to reach the South Pole; and finished the gruelling Marathon de Sables in the Sahara. His challenges have raised thousands of pounds for the RAF Benevolent Fund and he has been appointed an ambassador for the charity Walking With The Wounded.
Care worker Vanessa Rochester probably has the most gruelling journey to work than any other person in Britain. For the 32-year-old mum it involves a 30-minute moonlit hike down a dirt track and through woodland; a sometimes treacherous row in a small plastic boat across a tidal channel; and a then drive of more than hour. The reason is that Vanessa, her husband Jeff, and young son Duke live on a remote island off the west coast of Scotland. And her journey’s end is a care home in Lochaber. Depending on the weather the row alone can take anywhere between five minutes and 50 minutes!
Cancer survivor Andrea Mason became the first woman to complete the challenging ‘Sea To Summit’ triathlon which saw her swim, cycle and run over 330 miles in just five days. Andrea, 39, from Blackpool, Lancashire, didn’t sleep and barely ate during the testing course in the French Alps. She swam around Lake Annecy, and cycled and ran up Mont Blanc. Only four years earlier in 2017 Andrea suffered severe endometriosis and cervical cancer needing life-saving surgery. She has now set up her own charity – Lady Talk Matters – in a bid to normalise conversation around female reproductive issues.
Manchester United legend Lou Macari was forced to adapt when Covid-19 struck to keep his homeless shelter he set up four years ago in Stoke-on-Trent open. His dormitory-style accommodation was deemed unsafe when the pandemic struck so Lou, 71, moved to a warehouse and installed glamping-style pods to keep many of his 40 residents together. He sourced grants and sponsors to kit them out with new beds, heaters, televisions and a numbered front door to give the residents proof of address when searching for work. Lou now plans to install gym equipment between the pods.
Leicester Tigers rugby union coach and former Leeds Rhinos and England rugby league captain Kevin Sinfield was a massive hero during his playing days but he’s now won huge plaudits because of his charity fundraising feats. Kevin, who has been awarded an MBE and an OBE, last December ran seven marathons in seven days and raised £2.2million for Motor Neurone Research in support of his former team-mate Rob Burrow who suffers from the disease. Kevin, 40, ran five marathons around Saddleworth, near Oldham, Greater Manchester, where he lives, and two in Leeds where he will always be a legend.
Dr Alex George
A&E doctor and ex-Love Islander Dr Alex George was appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the Covid pandemic as an unpaid youth mental health ambassador for the government and is now helping shape policy and advise on support for young people. In a post to his 1.7million Instagram followers, Dr George, 30, wrote: "Never has mental health been as important as now. From schools to universities, the NHS and the wider public, mental health matters." Dr George has experience of the circumstances around mental health issues following the loss of his brother Llyr to suicide.
Racing driver Billy Monger, who lost both legs in a crash at Donington Park aged only 17 in 2017, raised a staggering £2,376,183 for Comic Relief 2021 when he overcame an unforgettable celebrity challenge – walking, kayaking and cycling 140 miles across England. Billy, now 20, and nicknamed ‘Billy Whizz’, tackled the event over five days completing the final 50-mile stretch walking and cycling laps of Brands Hatch race track. In only a short time after his horror crash Billy, of Charlwood, Surrey, returned to Formula 3 racing and in 2019 achieved his first single seater win in the Pau Grand Prix.
Triple amputee and father-of-three Mark Ormrod has raised around half a million pounds for a charity that cares for former military and uniformed services personnel. Mark, 38, from Plymstock, Devon, set tougher and tougher targets in aid of the charity REORG. He first ran a 5k challenge and then swam 1km in the open sea before completing a 99.9mile bike ride on a specially adapted machine. Mark lost both legs and his right arm in a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2007. He has since won 11 Invictus Games medals, written an award-winning autobiography and has become an acclaimed motivational speaker.
Grandad Frank Rothwell became the oldest person at the age of 70 to row 3,000 miles solo unassisted across the Atlantic – at the same time as raising £648,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Frank set off on his boat ‘Never Too Old’ from La Gomera in the Canary Islands and crossed the finish line in Antigua where he was reunited with Judith, his wife of 50 years. He took up the challenge partly as a tribute to his brother-in-law Roger who died with Alzheimer’s aged 62 during his ocean journey. It took the Oldham, Greater Manchester, businessman 18 months of training to prepare for the challenge.
Former professional footballer and ex-fireman Lloyd Scott has raised more than £5million for charity since being diagnosed with leukaemia in 1989. He most famously completed the London Marathon in an old-fashioned diving suit that weighed 130lbs. But he has also made his way to the North Pole, and the South Pole and ridden 3,000 miles across Australia on a penny farthing bike. And last October, again in the diving suit, he raised £163,000 when he climbed the Three Peaks – Ben Nevis, Snowdonia and Scafell. And despite being diagnosed with cancer a second time he is planning to walk the Great Wall Of China next year.
Retired Army major Michael Stanley embarked on a 100-mile charity challenge in back and forth stages travelling at 2mph in his home-made ‘tin bath’ boat and raised £44,000 for St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Bosham, West Sussex. Major Mick, 80, from Chichester, West Sussex, who served in The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards for 35 years, created the boat, named the Tintanic, out of two sheets of corrugated iron, curtain hooks and a hosepipe. Since his maiden trip Major Mick has sailed his second home-made boat Tintanic II along stretches of water in others parts of the UK to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Four-year-old Daisy Briggs proved her doctors wrong after they said she may never be able to walk by strolling out on her first modelling shoot for River Island after she had racked up walking 25 metres a day with the help of a walking frame, during lockdown. He efforts raised £25,000 for the NHS. Daisy, from Sutton, South London, has not let spina bifida, hydrocephalus, hip dysplasia and club foot stop her achieving what some didn’t think possible. Her efforts were by way of saying thanks to St George’s Hospital, Tooting, and Queen Mary’s Hospital for Children, Carshalton, who have saved her life on multiple occasions.
Dr Kishan Bodalia
After a gruelling week of night shifts caring for Covid-19 patients in intensive care Dr Kishan Bodalia geared himself up for DJ sessions – from his kitchen! During the pandemic Dr Bodalia, 26, has returned home from working on the respiratory wards for at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, to reach millions around the globe with his NHSessions dance music shows on the internet. Because the sessions eased people’s sense of isolation and mental health issues Kishan, who worked in music studios before his career in medicine, was nicknamed ‘Dr Feel Good’ and earned praised from Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Zara St Clair
Grandmother Zara St Clair, 47, began doing an extraordinary job from the outbreak of coronavirus to make sure her neighbours had food and other essentials they needed during the lockdowns. Very quickly, Zara and some friends had distributed 10,000 leaflets urging people to get in touch for whatever support they needed. She coordinated a school holiday lunch programme, and then set up a foodbank before running a toy drive to ensure children in the West Denton area of Newcastle Upon Tyne had gifts for Christmas. Sometimes she gets up at 4am checking stock and working out what’s happening in the coming days.
During the darkest days of Covid-19 toddler Jessica Willey surprised 200 staff at Sunderland Royal Hospital with afternoon tea. And she didn’t stop there extending her efforts providing sandwiches, scones and cakes to care homes. Helped by her mum Andrea, five-year-old Jessica also raised £200 by selling 100 handmade bookmarks decorated with rainbows to buy food for 180 vulnerable people. Jessica, from Washington, Co Durham, went on to provide packed lunches for staff on the intensive care unit at South Tyneside District Hospital as well as collecting unwanted toys to give to needy children at Christmas.
Pickle, owner Kirsten Carmichael
Cockapoo Pickle saved the life of deaf owner Kirsten Carmichael when she licked and nudged her to alert her of a fire in the middle of the night. Once Kirsten, 35, was awake, Pickle performed the sign she was taught to signal danger by the Hearing Dogs For Deaf People charity. Pickle then guided Kirsten through her smoked-filled flat to safety. Kirsten, who has now moved to nearby Selby from York, said: “If Pickle hadn’t have woken me I wouldn’t be here, simple as that.” A few months later Pickle was bridesmaid and ring bearer at Kirsten and partner Matt’s wedding.
Walter, owner Hazel Parkyn
Hazel Parkyn, who has type one diabetes, says her rescue cat Walter is her lifesaver because, even though he has never been trained as a medical alert pet, he wakes Hazel if she is asleep when her blood sugar levels get dangerously low. Hazel, from Swadlincote, Derbyshire, also suffers seizures after being attacked in her job 18 months ago so if she wasn’t alerted by Walter there could be deadly consequences. Walter, can tell when she is having a hypoglycemic attack and pokes her face until she wakes up. Hazel said: “Wally has become my life saver.”
Max, owner Kerry Irving
Springer Spaniel Max has helped to raise more than £300,000 since 2017 for various charities and has now had a bronze statue built – paid for by public subscription – in his home town of Keswick, Cumbria. During Covid-19 Max and owner Kerry Irving have helped people overcome loneliness and grief by posting daily online videos of their walks and activities. For his 13th birthday Max received around 1,000 birthday cards and has been awarded the PDSA Order of Merit – the animal equivalent of an OBE – for providing virtual therapy during lockdown.
Max, handler PC Peter Lloyd
Police dog Max was on his first assignment with handler PC Peter Lloyd when his superb tracking skills found a missing mother and baby on the edge of a ravine. The pair had been missing for two days despite efforts from police, a mountain rescue team and police helicopter. Her car was found on a mountain road and this is where two-year-old German Shepherd cross Max’s tracking skills came into play. After 90 minutes of searching he led PC Lloyd, of Dyfed-Powys Police, to the edge of a steep ravine, where the woman was waving and calling for help. Mother and baby were cold and tired, but otherwise unharmed.
Eli Harrison did not think twice before he saved a little boy from drowning in the harbour near his home in the picturesque North Yorkshire village of Staithes, near Whitby. Eli, 11, and his family were on their way to the beach when they saw a toddler in difficulty in the water among the boats. In a second Eli had jumped off the pier fully clothed and grabbed hold of the boy who was clinging to a fishing net. Eli, who hopes to be a lifeboat volunteer and whose great-grandad and grandad were local fishermen, then swam the youngster to the shore to the relief of his parents who were unaware their son had entered the water.
Eight-year-old Mia Dixon saved her former police officer mum Helen’s life when she collapsed with a seizure in the bedroom at their home in Middlewich, Cheshire. Mia heard the thud and immediately rang 999 and followed the instructions given over the phone by tilting her 38-year-old mum’s head back and clearing her airway before putting her into a recovery position. Mia made sure her one-year-old sister Ava was kept safe by putting her into her crib and ran downstairs to let the police and paramedics in. Helen was taken to hospital and later said but for Mia she would probably have died.
Schoolboy Max Woosey, 11, raised in excess of £550,000 for his local hospice after spending more than 500 nights sleeping out in a tent in his back garden in Braunton, North Devon. And during the sleep out he called on other children around the world to join him in his Max’s Big Camp Out to support their own local causes. Max, whose only comforts at night were his teddy, a few Beano comics and some books, raised the money for North Devon Hospice who cared for his 74-year-old neighbour Rick and his wife Sue before they passed away. Bear Grylls and rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson sent morale boosting video messages.
Khloe Woods and Ellie Hughes
Friends Khloe Woods and Ellie Hughes rescued a 74-year-old angler from the River Mersey in Warrington, Cheshire, after youths had violently pushed him into the freezing water. The girls heard the man's cries for help just seconds after seeing two boys running away. Ellie stood firm on the bank and held Khloe’s hand while she reached out to drag the man, who was suffering a bloodied nose and was clinging onto an over-hanging branch, clear of the water. The man said afterwards he was stricken with fear of either drowning or having a heart attack in the freezing flowing river.