Police officers who helped catch man responsible for terror attack honoured at Pride of Reading

  • TV personality Chris Tarrant on bring back the Pride of Reading Awards

The Royal Berkshire Hospital, a 9-year-old fundraiser and four police officers responsible for tackling the man responsible for a terror attack in Forbury Gardens, have all been honoured at the Pride of Reading Awards.

They were among dozens of people recognised for having "stepped up during the pandemic" to do "amazing things", organisers said.

The ceremony returned this year after being cancelled in 2020 because of Covid-19 restrictions.

The four officers had previously been recognised for bravery by Thames Valley Police Federation

Local Hero winners 'richly deserve' awards

The Local Hero award, sponsored by Green Park, was won by Thames Valley Police officers PC James Packman, Sgt Iain Watkinson, PC Liam Steele and PC Liam King.

They stepped in unarmed to tackle the Forbury Gardens terror attacker, after he stabbed James Furlong, David Wails and Joe Ritchie-Bennett to death in June of last year.

Pc Packman, who had only been an officer for two years, was off duty in Forbury Gardens when the incident occurred and immediately ran after Khari Saddallah, who was jailed for life for the murders.

Unarmed uniformed response officers Pc Steele, Pc King, and Sgt Watkinson saw Saadallah running towards them, “rugby tackled” him to the floor and restrained him – without knowing if he was armed.

Dexter (L) was inspired by Marcus Rashford's campaigning on child hunger.

"Amazing" nine-year-old named Fundraiser of the Year

The prize for Fundraiser of the Year went to Dexter Rosier.

The nine-year-old, from Woodley, has raised thousands for various charities throughout the pandemic, including the Royal Berks Charity and Camp Mohawk, a day centre for children with special needs.

He also made headlines in July when footballer Marcus Rashford shared a consolation letter Dexter had sent him following England's defeat in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

Dexter wrote that he hoped Marcus wouldn't "be sad for too long" because the 23-year-old was "a good person" who had inspired him to help people less fortunate.

A group of staff from the hospital were invited on stage to collect their award.

Special recognition for "superb" hospital

The final award of the evening, the Special Recognition category, was given to the entire team at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Staff on site have been dealing with the full effect of the pandemic since it began in March 2020.

The team has not been immune from Covid-19, losing much loved members of the team to the virus.

In recent months the hospital has been handling record patient numbers in A&E.

But despite those challenges, organisers said the hospital continued to recieve the same rave reviews from patients - "amazing, superb, fantastic."

TV personality Chris Tarrant, a long time supporter of the awards, said he was "delighted" the ceremony had returned.

"There's been a huge turnout, it's completely packed," he said.

"This is the 18th year since we've started, but it's actually the 17th year because we missed last year.

"Obviously this year, of all years, we had to celebrate all those extraordinary people who have get us going through the last 18 months, and today will be all about unsung heroes who basically kept us going."