The Sun rewards NHS heroes

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house at The Sun’s first Who Cares Wins health awards held on Wednesday 11 October.

Yesterday’s ceremony, presented by The Sun columnist Lorraine Kelly, honoured NHS staff and other health heroes all nominated by grateful readers.

You can see highlights from the day here.

Emotions ran high as the awards were dished out by celebrities including I’m a Celebrity winner Vicky Pattinson, TV doctor Dawn Harper, McFly’s Harry Judd, Love Island winners Kem and Amber and singer Rochelle Humes.

The awards, welcomed by NHS England boss Simon Stevens, saw patients and medics reunited to celebrate the extraordinary work of all those across the NHS.

Specialist bereavement midwife and Best Midwife award winner Hilary Paterson set the tone by saying: “It is absolutely amazing to have won this The Sun award. It means so much to the mothers who have to find a way every day of loving the baby they lost.”

After handing the Ultimate Lifesaver award to the East of England Ambulance service for saving the life of Storm Warner after a massive crash on the M1, Love Island winner Kem Cetinay said: “It’s an honour to be here, we’ve been getting the tissues out and crying at everything.”

Awards were also given to staff from Stepping Hill in Stockport, who were part of the immediate response to the Manchester Arena attack, and to Dr David Crossland and his team who performed life-saving open-heart surgery on the minutes-old Chanel Murrish – who was also at the ceremony, albeit fast asleep.

Meanwhile, the 86-year-old Basil Priest and 105-year-old Dr William Frankland proved that age is no barrier: the former having served as a volunteer for more than 30 years in South Wales, and the latter still publishing papers into his hundreds. Basil even managed to grab a kiss from Vicky!

The emotional finale of the awards ceremony saw the parents of Jemima Layzell awarded a Special Recognition award. Jemima was 13 when she passed away in 2012, but she has donated eight organs that have saved the lives of five other children – a British record. Layzell’s parents, Harvey and Sophy, received a standing ovation as award presenter Penny Lancaster broke down.

Sean Hamilton, Head of Editorial Planning at The Sun, said: “”It has been one of the most emotional and rewarding things I’ve ever worked on. The reader response was incredible. People took the time to send in handwritten letters praising their doctors and nurses and other health heroes. Then the NHS staff themselves were incredibly touched to be nominated. Everyone was choking up throughout the ceremony. I hope we can make it even bigger and better next year.”

Christina Earle, Health Editor at The Sun, said: “The Who Cares Wins ceremony went spectacularly well. It was wonderful to get so many brave, dedicated and talented health workers together and celebrate their incredible, life-saving and life-changing work. There was not a dry eye in the room by the time the ceremony finished. Compliments have been flooding in from all those involved and I really hope we can host a second Who Cares Wins Awards next year.”