10 inspirational people we met in 2020

Inspirational people we met in 2020 Credit: ITV News Central

In a year of adversity, there were some people who stepped up and went above and beyond to help others. 

And for others, it was their strength of character day in day out which set an example for us all. 

Here are 10 inspirational stories we covered this year.

1. Inspiring women on International Women’s Day

In March we asked strong and successful women from across the Midlands what message they would give to their teenage selves.

This is what they told us.

2. Down’s Syndrome campaigner marries

We first met Heidi Crowter from Coventry in 2019, when she told us about her work breaking down prejudices about Down’s Syndrome, and why she ‘loves every day’

We couldn’t stop her talking about the love of her life, James, who made her ‘the happiest girl in the world.

And they managed to get married this year - in a socially distanced ceremony.

Heidi has also been to Downing Street this year, to hand in a petition against an abortion law.

3. Hezron Brown wins Pride of Britain 

Hezron Brown didn’t have the easiest start in life, and he fell in with a bad crowd.

He was on the point of being jailed, but when the judge heard the difficulties he’d faced, she let him off.

From then on, he turned his life around, and won a Pride of Britain award this year for his work steering other young people away from gang crime.

4. Barbara Briley beats Coronavirus

86-year-old Barbara Briley from Wollaton in Nottinghamshire spent three months in hospital following two falls and developing Covid-19.

Our cameras were there to capture the moment she arrived home after recovering, smiling and waving to her neighbours.

She told us to 'never give up,' and that she missed listening to her favourite musician, Andre Rieu - so we got in touch with him.

5. A lockdown rescue

Ben Canham from Melton Mowbray was struggling during lockdown.

He wasn’t leaving the house, and turned to social media for human contact.

There he met Shelagh Low, a retired social worker, who lives in Scotland. She was worried about him, so made the 700 mile round trip to collect Ben, and bring him home to live with her.

6. Reverend Eve on the Black Lives Matter movement

After the death of George Floyd in America in May, the Black Lives Matter movement drew attention to the injustices and challenges facing black people around the world.

We spoke to the Rev Eve Pitts, of the Holy Trinity Church in Birmingham, about her life and journey to becoming Britain's first female Caribbean vicar.

To mark the killing of George Floyd she and her parishioners had kneeled outside her church, in a symbol of solidarity.

She told us,

"I would like a different world for my grandchildren to grow up in and for little black boys and little black girls not to be limited by the colour of their skin, but by who they are as human beings - as Martin Luther King once said."

7. Elderly couple in isolation sing to their family

An elderly couple in Derbyshire were forced into isolation as the pandemic took hold.

Rex and Selina Taylor hadn’t left the house for two weeks, and missed seeing their family.

So they recorded themselves singing Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again - to keep their spirits up, and to send to their family.

8. Grieving mother urges families to talk to their sons

Helen Hartery-Brown told us about her 22-year-old son, Ben, who took his own life after he was 'overwhelmed' by the coronavirus lockdown.

He was studying at university and hoped to become an engineer with the army.

While still struggling with her own grief, his mother Helen urged families to talk to their sons about their mental health - before it was too late.

9. Doctor who nearly died from Coronavirus back on the ward

A doctor at the Royal Shrewsbury hospital believed he would die alone in his own hospital after catching Coronavirus.

Dr Hamza Ansari’s family were stuck in Canada as he fought the virus, but he pulled through, and when he was discharged, a hospital colleague welcomed him into his own home to begin his recovery.

He's now back at work.

10. Police officer with Motor Neurone disease walks 5,000 steps

A West Midlands police officer living with debilitating Motor Neurone disease set himself a challenge of walking 5,000 steps for the 5,000 people living with the condition in the UK.

He was cheered across the finish line by his colleagues on the day he retired.