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Pride of Britain bus sets off to find heroes.

Byline: Shiraz Lalani echo.newsdek@walesonline.co.uk

TV FAVOURITES Phillip Schofield and Amanda Holden kicked off the search for the winners of the 2015 Pride of Britain Awards.

The popular This Morning presenters were on hand to wave off the special Pride of Britain bus as it embarked on a 1,000-mile quest to find the country's unsung heroes.

Philip said Pride of Britain, sponsored by Lidl, was a chance for us all to thank those incredible people who carry out extraordinary, selfless feats to transform the lives of others.

He said: "It's one of those nights of the year where you show up and you know it has nothing to do with you and instead you just want to say thank you to these incredible people.

"The stories stop you in your tracks."

Amanda said: "Without the Pride of Britain we would never know about these people and the irony is they ask for a picture with you when actually it is me who wants a picture with them.

"It is so important to nominate these people, to mark the work and courage of those who do not get recognition."

The bus also pulled up at the Houses of Parliament, where Labour's leadership hopefuls and interim leader Harriet Harman united to urge everyone to nominate their unsung heroes.

Yvette Cooper said: "It's such an important awards and always there are stories of great bravery and generosity and the wonderful parts of our country."

Mary Creagh said: "It's all about the unsung heroes and those who act selflessly without expectation of recognition." Liz Kendall said: "We are celebrating the unsung heroes and heroines in our country."

Andy Burnham said: "It's about the best of our country and the best night of the year.

"The tables are turned and all the glitterati take a back seat and it's real people who are the stars. I love going and get a huge lift from it."

Veteran MP Jeremy Corbyn joined his leadership rivals alongside the coach.

Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna also backed the nominations drive, saying: "This is a showcase for people who put others first."

EastEnders actress Samantha Womack said of Pride of Britain, which has been held every year since 1999: "It's a great institution.

"I watch it and I think it's important to nominate who you think is an unsung hero."

The winners, chosen from a shortlist by a panel of esteemed judges, will receive their awards at a glittering ceremony at London's Grosvenor House in the autumn, which will be screened on ITV.

Since 1999, royalty, prime ministers, Hollywood stars, sporting legends and pop and rock icons have all taken part, including HRH Prince Charles, Prince William, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Jon Bon Jovi, Sir Paul McCartney, David Beckham, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Simon Cowell, Sir Bruce Forsyth, Dame Helen Mirren, former President Bill Clinton, Cheryl Cole, Joanna Lumley and hundreds more. Susanna Reid, from Good Morning Britain, said: "The Pride of Britain awards highlight the people who embody the greatest courage, resilience, determination and love.

"They are inspiring and motivating - and a reminder of the strength and bravery we have amongst us and within us."

Co-host Ben Shephard said: "I would like to nominate the military and medical personal who travelled to Africa to take on the deadly ebola virus.

"They put their lives on the line to help people thousands of miles away in Sierra Leone.

"I am in awe of people like that."

This year's nomination process was launched by Carol Vorderman live on ITV's Good Morning Britain. Carol who is preparing to host her 17th Pride of Britain Awards, said: "It's very important for us to have as many nominations as we can so we can find out of the great people across the country so please nominate."

Presenter Kate Garraway said: "The people we want to hear about through Pride of Britain are the ones we don't get to hear about normally.

"Wonderful heroes who hit the headlines deserve recognition but I like the ones who are just acting in their community not expecting thanks nationally."

Following Monday's launch, the Pride of Britain coach has been crisscrossing Britain, with stops in Cardiff, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Newcastle.

You can nominate at |www.prideofbritain.com or by collecting a form at your local Lidl store.

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Amanda Holden and Philip Schofield at the launch of this year's Pride of Britain Awards national bus tour PHILIP COBURN/DAILY MIRROR
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 12, 2015
Words:755
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