PIPPA Middleton, David Seaman, S Club and Vernon Kay were amongst the special guests at this year’s British Heart Foundation (BHF) Heart Hero Awards.
Celebrities from the world of showbiz, music, TV and sport gathered at Glazier’s Hall, London Bridge to celebrate inspirational BHF supporters at the charity’s sixth annual event.
The red carpet was rolled out for awards presenters and guests including football legend David Seaman, British Olympic gymnast Becky Downie, S Club’s Tina, Jon and Bradley, TV presenter Will Njobvu, former footballer Anton Ferdinand and Pippa Middleton.
Heart Hero Awards were given to those who have shown remarkable bravery or have gone above and beyond to help others while coping with the devastating impact of heart and circulatory disease.
Winners included dedicated healthcare professionals, people living with life-threatening conditions and heart surgery survivors. The ceremony also celebrated those who have displayed exceptional courage by administering CPR, along with those who have raised vital funds for the BHF’s lifesaving research.
The star-studded, emotionally charged event was led by newly appointed BHF ambassador, Vernon Kay, who hosted the awards for the fifth time.
Speaking about the evening, Vernon said:
“Every year I am left in awe of the winners and their incredible stories. The battles they have faced, their incredible courage and positivity and their belief in a brighter future for heart patients is truly inspirational.
“It’s been wonderful hosting this event again and, for the first time as an official Ambassador for the BHF. It’s a privilege to be able to recognise the remarkable people who play such a vital role in helping the BHF to fund their life-saving research.”
Amongst the winners was CPR Hero, Ginny Long. At just 15 years old Ginny performed lifesaving CPR on her dad Andy, who went into cardiac arrest in front of her. She carried out CPR for 40 agonising minutes until the ambulance arrived. Miraculously thanks to Ginny’s phenomenal determination and bravery, Andy survived and was at the awards evening.
“Tonight’s awards have been magical! A huge thank you to the BHF for bringing us all together to celebrate and hear each other’s heart stories. I am so grateful to be here with my dad tonight – and every day since his cardiac arrest. Tonight, we’ve been reminded just how lucky we are as a family – we’ve enjoyed every minute!”
Presenting some of the CPR Heroes with their awards were S Club’s Tina Barrett, Jon Lee and Bradley McIntosh. The band have been working with the BHF to raise funds and awareness of heart and circulatory disease in memory of their beloved band member Paul Cattermole.
“I’m honoured to have presented such courageous and strong people with the Heart Hero Awards tonight. They demonstrate the importance of learning the lifesaving skill of CPR – you never know when you could help save a life.”
“It’s been an emotional evening, the stories we’ve heard here tonight have left us all speechless. It is incredibly heartwarming to be able to honour the dedicated supporters, inspirational researchers and remarkable heart patients at tonight’s award ceremony.”
The BHF funds around £100 million of research into heart and circulatory diseases each year, which has helped drive medical breakthroughs into treatments and cures for cardiovascular disease since 1961. This year, the Research Story of the Year was awarded to Professor Massimo Caputo.
It was a special moment for BHF-funded researcher from the University of Bristol, Professor Massimo Caputo who won this year’s BHF Research Story of the Year for his work developing a new type of ‘heart plaster’ that could improve the way surgeons treat children living with congenital heart disease.
In a touching moment, Professor Caputo was presented his award by former Heart Hero Award winner; Calum Morris. Born with Truncus Arteriosis Calum received lifesaving open heart surgery from Professor Caputo when he was just ten days old. Since then, Calum has had four further major heart surgeries – all performed by Professor Caputo and his team.
Now 17, Calum and his family wanted to say thank you to ‘their hero’. The family say thanks to Professor Caputo and his incredible team Calum has been able to achieve dreams that other boys take for granted like playing football.
Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said:
“I’m blown away by the incredible stories of our winners who have shown such courage, resilience, and bravery in the face of heart and circulatory disease.
“These awards are truly heartwarming and make me so proud to be part of Team BHF. Thank you to our judges, hosts, celebrity guests and supporters for creating such a magical evening for the BHF and the heroes we celebrated. We hope the awards inspire others to take action against heart and circulatory diseases – by learning CPR, fundraising, or even donating unwanted goods to one of our stores.
“Our heart heroes are among the 7.6 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases. This Christmas, our research is a gift that keeps on living, helping to keep families together and hearts beating for Christmases to come.”
To donate to the British Heart Foundation this festive season and give a gift that keeps on living: bhf.org.uk/Christmas .