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Blair: I back Pride award.

TONY Blair last night praised The Mirror for honouring Britain's unsung heroes.

The Prime Minister backed our Pride Of Britain Awards, to be presented on Thursday at what will become an annual event.

They are a tribute to people from all walks of life whose hard work, courage and commitment often goes unrecognised.

In a special message, Mr Blair said: "I'm delighted to give my support to The Mirror's Pride of Britain Awards. We have a great deal to be proud of as a nation.

"Pride in our history, of course, because so much that is good in the world bears the stamp of our country, but also pride in the United Kingdom today.

"I'm an unashamed British patriot. Proud of my country and my fellow countrymen and women.

"But it's a modern patriotism, not a narrow nationalism. It's a view of Britain shared by the vast majority of people.

A tolerant, outward-looking, welcoming nation. A country underpinned by civilised, decent values."

Thursday's awards will be presented by Mirror columnist Carol

Vorderman to shining lights in the community.

Organised in association with Virgin, they also salute national leaders who have earned our respect.

Mirror readers have nominated the most coura__ous children.

Outstanding acts of bravery will be acknowledged and the lifesaver of the year will be named.

Other categories honour the best good neighbour, teacher, nurse, care worker and fund-raiser.

There will be an international winner for services to Britain and for the most inspiring young sports person.

Sir Paul McCartney has chosen the winner of an Outstanding Contribution to Animal Welfare award in memory of his late wife Linda.

Mr Blair added: "It was once fashionable to say Britain was doomed to become a more selfish society. It's not the first time experts got it wrong.

"I believe we're seeing the reverse and are witnessing a real revival of community spirit in this country as we approach the new century.

"I congratulate The Mirror on these awards and look forward to them being a permanent feature in the calendar."

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Article Details
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Author:Maguire, Kevin
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 17, 1999
Words:342
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