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Good Morning Britain 1 Million Minutes Awards

Good Morning Britain’s first 1 Million Minutes Awards ceremony kicked off in London last night with a host of celebrities turning out to celebrate those dedicating their lives to helping fight loneliness in the UK.

The GMB studio was transformed for the ceremony and SEVEN winners were honoured by presenters Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway.

There were tears and laughter throughout the emotional hour-long awards at Television Centre and Dame Barbara Windsor also sent a moving video message to one winner - Danny Brown, who was given the award named in honour of the British TV legend.

Award presenters included - Scott Mitchell, Larry Lamb, Stanley Johnson and Kate’s jungle buddy Myles Stephenson. The Grief Encounter choir, whose members have all suffered a loss of a parent or sibling, also performed and British poet, Hussain Manawer, recited an exclusively commissioned poem about loneliness and isolation.

Kate Garraway said: “We decided to do an award ceremony after hearing all the great stories of people giving up their time to volunteer to help people who are lonely in the UK. It’s been an honour to celebrate those going above and beyond for the cause.”

Praising the magnificent work of the winners, co-host Ben Shephard added: “It's been such a pleasure. We have a room full of well known faces from stage, screen and politics but most importantly we were joined by some true heroes, the tireless volunteers donating their time to help end loneliness.”

The awards sprung from GMB’s campaign of the same name, which started in 2016 aimed at raising awareness for the 2 million people in the UK who are lonely or isolated. Viewers can pledge minutes of their time to volunteer to help end the blight of loneliness. So far, a total of over 150 million minutes to date has been pledged.

List of 1 Million Minutes Award winners:

MENTAL HEALTH LONELINESS CHAMPION 

Winner: Keith Ineson, from Northern Ireland

Background: At 14 years old Keith knew he was gay, but because he was growing up in farming he didn’t feel able to come out until he was 50.

After founding Cheshire’s Agricultural Chaplaincy Team, Keith began working with gay farmers and realised how many people across the country in the same situation must also be hiding their sexuality and consequently facing enormous pressures on their mental health and wellbeing. He then set up Gayfarmer.co.uk for gay farmers suffering mental health issues and feeling lonely and isolated and the Gay Farmer Helpline in 2010. It is the only service of it’s kind in the UK to support men in isolated rural communities struggling with their sexuality.

Keith said: “Since starting the helpline for gay farmers we have helped nearly 500 farmers, some of who were suicidal, so I am extremely pleased that this work has been recognised in this way.”

Award presented by Adil Ray & Bobby Norris

DAME BARBARA WINDSOR AWARD 

Winner: Danny Brown, from Northern Ireland

Background: The award is for someone who has helped people with Alzheimer's or Dementia combat loneliness. Winner Danny was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2014 and struggled with the diagnosis, so made plans to end his life. But after contacting the Alzheimer's Society, he got support, became involved in volunteering and he hasn’t looked back. He has visited schools, churches, shopping centres and even a cinema to raise awareness about dementia. 

Danny said: “I have vascular dementia. I am very badly damaged all down my left side. I am blind now in my left eye. The Alzheimer's (society) make life so much easier, so much happier. We still have so much to offer -  I am still a man, I live every day of my life. I fly the flag as best I can.”

Award presented by Scott Mitchell & Larry Lamb with a special message from Dame Barbara

THE PRINCE’S TRUST YOUNG CHAMPION AWARD 

Winner: Hidden Talent

Background: Hidden Talent is a group of long-term unemployed young people from Leicestershire. In total they have volunteered almost 10,000 hours of their time to raise public and corporate awareness of the barriers to employment faced by young people due to hidden disabilities. All members of the group have faced their own personal challenges with hidden disabilities and health conditions, and they were keen to support others who might be in a similar situation to themselves.  One of the key issues the group wanted to tackle was the understanding of the needs of young people with hidden conditions like mental health problems, school exclusion and homelessness.

The group has previously organised a series of events highlighting hidden conditions supported by the Chamber of Commerce, Leicester Business Festival, Leicester City FC and the Leicester Tigers.

Award presented by I’m a Celebrity’s... Myles Stephenson 

ANIMAL LONELINESS CHAMPION 

Winner: Diana Taylor, from Norfolk

Background: Diana started Cuddly Cavies two years ago when she had to give up work to look after her son who has autism. Cuddly Cavies provides a pet based therapeutic animal activity for the elderly, disabled or young children. Diana takes her guinea pigs into care homes across Norfolk to provide the therapy.

Diana said: “You get some amazing results. My visits make such a difference. I went into one place and spoke to a lady about guinea pigs and when I came out the carer said she had never heard her talk so much since arriving at the home.”

Award presented by Stanley Johnson & Montanna Brown

THE COMMUNITY AWARD 

Winner: Kelly Lindsay, from Norfolk

Background: Kelly saved up her own money to start the charity ‘Friend in Deed’ that creates friendship across generations through various intergenerational schemes, with the aim of reducing loneliness and promoting kindness. Intergenerational care home visits involve babies, children and young adults who visit care homes, dementia cafes, day centres and sheltered housing sites. The charity’s main schemes are called “Little Visitors” where people take babies and toddlers into care homes. Kelly said when she first set it up it was all about bringing people together. The charity is working with 25 care homes, dementia units and shelters, and 10 schools and they have only been running for a year.

Kelly said “We need to remember that these people have no physical contact other than being washed - so a little visitor jumping on your lap is so powerful.”

Awarded by Charlotte Hawkins & Ella Chadwick

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Winner: Dale Mallin, from Scotland

Background: Dale Mallin was medically discharged from military service with injuries and PTSD after 16 years of distinguished service with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Dale’s wife and childhood sweetheart, Nadia noticed that he was giving up on life and that he felt abandoned and isolated despite the deep love of his family so decided to do something about it. Knowing Dale’s love of fast cars, Nadia drove him on a 1,200 mile round trip to attend a ‘Not Forgotten’ charity track day at Brands Hatch in July 2018. It proved a turning point. Dale now volunteers for the charity.

The charity said of Dale that: “He has the empathy, character and gravitas to be immediately trusted for those who need to talk. He has shown a remarkable inner strength to conquer his own troubles and be seen as a rock by those who are also fragile.”

Award presented by Minister for Loneliness Baroness Diana Barran MBE and GMB’s Richard Arnold

SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD 

Winner: Oyovwe Kigho, from Manchester 

Background: Oyovwe started ‘The Widows Empowerment Trust’ charity three years ago - she has helped hundreds of widows and widowers to cope with grief and loneliness and regain their confidence after loss. She was inspired to set up the charity after her own friend experienced a loss. Oyovwe works 70 hours a week, being a voice for widows and gets young people working in the community. She was herself made homeless last year, but her own challenges didn’t stop her and she didn’t tell anyone what she was going through. Besides providing support to widows and widowers she holds workshops in centres across Manchester.

Award presented by Judi Love & Debbie McGee

[Note to Editor:]

Since it began, Good Morning Britain’s ‘1 Million Minutes’ campaign has encouraged viewers to pledge 60 minutes of their time to help a friend, family member or someone in their community who is lonely. This can be done individually or by volunteering with one of the 1 Million Minutes charity partners. Now in its 4th year, to date viewers have pledged over 150 million minutes.

The theme of this December’s campaign was helping those who are lonely through loss, whether that's bereavement, loss of a job, loss of memory or anything else. GMB is working alongside charities Alzheimer’s Society, Grief Encounter, The Not Forgotten, The Prince’s Trust, The Silver Line and Re-engage.