Pride of Britain Awards: Birmingham schoolgirl who survived cot blaze among winners

  • Elizabeth Soffe, the Child of Courage Award winner from Birmingham, and her parents talk to Good Morning Britain about her award and fundraising

A Birmingham schoolgirl who inspired medics with her courage after a horrific cot fire and two heroic West Midlands Police officers were recognised at the Pride of Britain Awards 2022.

Elizabeth Soffe, an eight-year-old girl who suffered life changing injuries after she was in a horrific cot-fire, won the Child of Courage award at Monday's ceremony.

She's raised over £200,000 by running a marathon in 26 days for medics who saved her life at Birmingham's Children's Hospital.

The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards with TSB aims to celebrate the nation’s unsung heroes and will be broadcast on Thursday (27 October) on ITV at 8pm.

Elizabeth Soffe

Elizabeth was just six months old when she almost died in a horrific cot fire and has since suffered life-changing, third degree burns over 60 per cent of her body.

Her family was living in Qatar when a faulty air conditioner sparked a blaze in her room and cot.

Liam, Elizabeth's dad, said: “Her mum went inside and the room was on fire. The cot was on fire. Elizabeth was on fire.”

Along with the burns, she had lost most of her fingers, part of her nose and an ear and was quickly flown to the specialist burns unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

“That first day, they were very clear with us that she might not survive,” Liam continued.

Elizabeth spent weeks in a coma, followed by six months in intensive care and continues to have regular treatment for her scars.

When receiving her award last night, Elizabeth said: "People who are mean to (you), they don't understand that you're better on the inside.

"It doesn’t matter what you look like, it just matters that you’re kind.”

Elizabeth's mum said: “She’s amazing, she wows us every day and the fact she wants to help others is just so her. This award means the world to her - and us.”

This year's Child of Courage is an aspiring Formula One driver and a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing.

She found out she'd won the award when she got a message from Daniel Ricciardo and met the Strictly cast at the awards on Monday.

Strictly judge, Shirley Ballas said: "She gave me a tear and I'm proud of her. I think she's amazing."

"We want to take her to strictly and replace Craig," she said, laughing with the rest of the cast.

PC James Willetts and PC Leon Mittoo - West Midlands Police officers

Two West Midlands Police officers, who were stabbed in a knife attack at West Bromwich shopping centre, also won an award at the ceremony.

PC James Willetts and PC Leon Mittoo won the This Morning Emergency Services award.

James and Leon were patrolling New Square shopping centre in West Bromwich last July when they became suspicious of two men carrying large backpacks and wearing heavy clothing - despite it being a swelteringly hot day.

When they challenged the men, one of the men produced a large knife and lunged at the officers.

Leon was stabbed repeatedly - sustaining serious injuries to his back, body and head while James received a head wound that was millimetres away from being life-threatening.

As terrified shoppers ran for safety, despite bleeding from their wounds, both officers managed to remain calm and subdue and detain the men - to keep other shoppers safe.

It was later discovered the attackers also had a machete, knives and an imitation firearm in their rucksack.

  • Two West Midlands police officers take home the This Morning Emergency Services award at the Pride of Britain and say they were "just doing their job".

The brothers who attacked the officers, Parminder Hunjan, 37, and Maninder Hunjan, 26, went on to receive jail sentences totalling 26 years.

Speaking about the incident, Leon said: "I thought I was going to die. I just did everything I could. It was a fight for survival.”

James added: “In our training we're taught if it ever comes to knives, a slice in the wrong place and you can bleed out in minutes.

"There were loads of people around screaming, we were conscious there were children nearby. Shops had put their shutters down, making sure the people inside were safe. You don't think about yourself, you're thinking about everyone else."

Douglas Marshall of the Crown Prosecution Service said: "The officers unhesitatingly put themselves in harm’s way and through their brave actions the pair were disarmed."

Paul Minter

Paul Minter is an ex-soldier, who ran the distance of nearly 200 marathons to support comrades with PTSD.

The West Midlands Pride of Britain regional fundraiser nominee, from Leamington Spa, spent 18 years in the army and did five tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. 

During that time he was blown up twice while on active service, left the Armed Forces in 2020 suffering from PTSD, lost comrades in combat and has lost eleven more friends to suicide since.

Paul is now on a mission to help others and has set up a new military charity called Head Up. 

Paul Minter was the regional fundraiser Pride of Britain nominee for the West MD

Paul said: "It's been really good to see so many people come out to support those who have really put so much effort into things that they care about.

"I think so many people put themselves out there, everyday, every week, every month, every year and they do it selflessly, and they do it all the time.

"They don't do it for recognition."

He added: "It's so nice to inspire people and actually give people hope that actually you can push the boundaries and you can help people and they can change the world for the better."

When asked if the fundraising will continue, he said: "It doesn't stop here. Head Up charity, we've got huge fundraisers coming up for our charity what it's hoping to be so we're just going to keep pushing forward."

Stacey Goodwin

Stacey Goodwin is a recovered gambling addict who now dedicates her time and fundraising to helping other women overcome the addiction.

Stacey, from Chesterfield, started her journey of recovery at the age of 18 after years of a gambling addiction where by midnight on every payday, she had spent every penny she had.

The East Midlands Pride of Britain regional fundraising nominee described the awards as the "best night of my life".

She said: "It's been amazing. I think honestly the stories have amazed me.

Stacey Goodwin is the East Midlands regional fundraising Pride of Britain nominee Credit: ITV

"The bravery, courage, and the celebs as well.

"I raise awareness for gambling addiction and especially women who have gambling addictions, so it's incredibly a proud moment for the entire sector and for anyone who's been through it."

"It's a real thing that happens and people takes lives, so I think getting that out there to the world in a setting like this is amazing."