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.
Our 2021 Overall Champion was Sgt Duncan Slater.
Double amputee Duncan was named the winner of our Against All Odds Award and won the overall prize for not only learning to live with his disability but courageously defeating 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.
Naming him as the Overall Champion, Falklands War hero Simon Weston said: “Duncan has overcome his own adversities, not only to achieve great things in life but also to make an indelible inspirational stamp on the whole nation.
“He is an individual who doesn’t know when to give up. He bears no malice when he could be filled with anger. He has made it his mission to make a mark on society in a positive and productive manner.”
Duncan paid tribute to his wife, daughter and parents during the ceremony and was delighted to receive the award from his hero, Simon. He said: “I wanted to prove that somebody who’s disabled could do something while raising as much money as possible to help other people.
“I can’t believe I have won these awards. It’s just phenomenal. It’s just topped off my year perfectly.”
Brilliant Joan Willett was the winner of our Active Ager Award 2021.
One of oldest people in Britain Joan 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!
The judges said: “Joan was chosen as winner because of her steadfast determination to show that age is just a number and that, with the right frame of mind and positive outlook on life, it is still possible to achieve the impossible.
“Despite her tender years she is still as bright as a button and by raising the amazing amount for the British Heart Foundation she has never forgotten the expertise and compassion of the heart surgeons who saved her life 20 years ago.”
Upon hearing she had won the award, Joan thanked the staff and residents of her nursing home, adding: “I still walk when the weather's reasonable because there's so much to do and the world's such a lovely place - I want to see more of it.”
Braunton schoolboy Max Woosey won the Young Hero category in the Amplifon Awards for Brave Britons 2021.
Max has raised more than £557,000 plus £110,000 in Gift Aid for North Devon Hospice by camping out in his garden for more than 530 nights.
He called on other children around the world to join him in his Max’s Big Camp Out to support their own local causes.
He was said by the judges to have shown the best of British spirit.
They said: “Max chose the North Devon Hospice for his fundraising because he realised, they were in crisis because of the pandemic and that they had cared for his 74-year-old neighbour Rick and his wife Sue before they passed away.
“His efforts have had an unbelievable impact on his local community and the hospice has been able to continue its services and retain its staff when other revenue streams dried up.”
Receiving his award, Max said: “I’m 100% committed to staying outdoors, I’ve got my dog in the tent and that’s all the comfort I need. I want to say thank you to the people around the world who’ve supported me – you’ve all helped me out and helped save lives.”
Frank Rothwell was joint winner of our Charity Champion Award 2021.
Grandad Frank 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 businessman 18 months of training to prepare for the challenge.
The judges said: “Frank showed a determination to help others while scaling the heights of extreme human endurance despite his age.
“Frank set himself a challenge and prepared for it financially, physically and mentally for the best part of two years. The middle of the Atlantic can be a lonely and frightening place when you haven’t seen a ship or an aeroplane for weeks and you are totally reliant on your own physical strength to get you to your goal.”
Frank told the ceremony he felt humbled to be named among the other nominees. He said: "I'd like to thank everyone who donated and helped raise awareness. I enjoyed it so much. Everybody in life is looking for something that they can do to make a difference - I found mine."
He revealed he was planning another trip in 2023 on a new boat - My Valentine, named in honour of his wife.
Former professional footballer and fireman Lloyd Scott MBE was the joint winner of the Charity Champion Award 2021 after his latest challenge of climbing the Three Peaks wearing his 130lb deep sea diving outfit raised £163,000 in aid of the Lord’s Taverners youth cricket and disability charity.
Lloyd, 58, of Theydon Bois, Epping, who began fundraising 30 years ago after recovering from leukaemia and is now undergoing treatment for cancer again, was said by the judges to show the best of British spirit. He has raised more than £5m for charity over the years.
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.
The judges said: “Lloyd shows a determination to help others while scaling the heights of extreme human endurance himself despite his health.
“He has swept aside any concerns he had about his own welfare as he raised money for charity in a whole manner of outlandish ways all over the globe. We wish him well in his latest battle with cancer.”
Lloyd said: “I’ve always thought to help others is the right thing to do. People helped me when I needed them and what I do is really a way of paying others back. It’s a real privilege to be in such esteemed company, the other finalists are awe-inspiring so I feel very humbled.”
Dad-of-five Artan Mahmood won the Single Act of Courage category of the Amplifon Awards for Brave Britons 2021 after saving the life of his neighbour's six-year-old son during a ferocious dog attack.
Artan, who stepped in and grabbed six-year-old Arjun Grewal from the jaws of the dog, was said by the judges to have shown the best of British spirit.
Artan, from Dagenham, dashed to Arjun’s rescue when he heard his screams, beating off the dog and scooping up the little boy, but the dog jumped on Artan’s back and kept biting at the boy.
Brave Artan only released the grip of the dog’s jaws by hitting it with a bin before carrying Arjun into his house.
The judges said: “When Artan heard the screams of six-year-old Arjun he was singularly focused on one thing – to save Arjun’s life.
“His own safety was never a concern and he actually used his own body as a human shield to protect Arjun from the ferocious attack by the pitbull dog.
“Every time he was bitten he could have abandoned the rescue but he didn’t and Arjun’s life was saved.”
Max and Kerry Irving
Springer Spaniel Max was the winner of our Hero Pet Award 2021.
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 hometown of Keswick, Cumbria.
During COVID-19 Max and owner Kerry Irving 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.
The judges said: “Max demonstrated a willingness to learn disciplines, procedures and skills not only, as initially was the case, to rehabilitate Kerry, but then to go on to help with the wellbeing and mental health of his local community especially during the pandemic.
“Many dogs owe their lives to caring humans. In this case, many humans owe their well-being to Max.”
Kerry said: "It's incredible how many people Max has helped worldwide. We've listened to the other finalists’ stories and we're in fantastic company.”
Racing driver Billy Monger was the winner of our Celebrity Hero Award 2021.
Billy lost both legs in a crash at Donington Park aged only 17 in 2017. He later 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.
The judges said: “Billy won the hearts of the nation when he stole the show on Comic Relief, and in fact, was put forward by more people than any other nomination in the Amplifon awards this year.
“His story is truly amazing. For many, suffering the injuries he suffered when only 17 years old would have ended their lives in many respects. But Billy picked himself up, dusted himself down, and was back behind a steering wheel before you could say ‘Lewis Hamilton’!
“And then to take up the challenge he did for Comic Relief showed he was prepared to put himself through the most extreme of human trials to help free the world of poverty.”
In a video message Billy said: “I want to say a massive thank you. It really is a true honour to get this award so thank you to everyone who voted. To be recognised among inspirational people is amazing – you guys are true heroes and to be alongside you is a true privilege for me.”
Zara St Clair
Zara St Clair was named Amplifon’s Coronavirus Hero 2021.
The 47-year-old 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.
The judges called Zara an ‘angel of the north’, adding: "Zara’s efforts started by initially helping an elderly man who had become isolated and worried about his future as Covid 19 took a grip.
"But pretty soon, Zara, who already was involved in keeping her area safe from antisocial behaviour, was managing a small army of volunteers looking after the welfare of dozens of vulnerable people by doing their shopping and collecting prescriptions."
Receiving her award, Zara said: “Our efforts continue because the need for foodbanks is there with the cuts that are about to happen. The fact that so many people are grateful for the help and support drives me to keep doing it.”