(Picture credit: Rowan Griffiths)

The Pride of Britain Awards returned to our screens last night, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic and government restriction, this year’s awards were presented slightly different. However, tissues were still needed at the ready as Carol Vorderman hosted the annual celebration and dance choreographer Ashley Banjo and actor Michael Sheen were seen travelling around the country to present the wonderful winners with their awards. 

You may have seen that South Wales’  very own Rhian Mannings MBE, the founder of ‘2 Wish Upon A Star’, was honoured with an award. She was surprised with the award by the lovely actor Michael Sheen whilst with her family at the Miskin Manor Hotel, it was truly heart-warming to watch.

Rhian Mannings & Michael Sheen (Picture credit: Rowan Griffiths)

It came in recognition of her work for ‘2 Wish Upon A Star’, which supports anyone impacted by the unexpected and often traumatic death of a child or young adult aged 25 and under. They are an All Wales organisation, working directly with every health board and police force here in Wales.

In February 2012 Rhian Mannings had just returned to work as a P.E. teacher after having her youngest son George when tragedy struck her family. George died suddenly with no sign of illness in the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisant on the 22nd February. Just days later Paul, her husband and the Father to her three children, took his own life traumatised by the loss of their son.

Rhian’s late husband Paul and son George (Picture credit: Rhian Mannings)

The tragedy of experiencing the sudden death of a child was compounded by the situation Rhian and her husband found themselves in at the hospital, having nowhere to privately grieve and say goodbye to their son. The family were offered no support and were left to deal with the loss of both Paul and George alone.

Motivated by a desire to ensure others would not have the same devastating experience after losing a child suddenly in hospital, Rhian set up the child bereavement charity ‘2 Wish Upon A Star’. To date, the charity has raised over £1.5 million exclusively from small public donations and local fundraising and ‘2 Wish Upon A Star‘ is now an All Wales organisation helping hundreds of families every year who experience sudden and traumatic loss.

Whilst Sheen presented Mannings with the award, she held back tears stating: “There are so many amazing people who deserve this, especially this year. I can’t believe it’s come to me.

“I can’t thank people enough – not only the community and the fundraisers but the amazing people out there helping our families.”  

Michael Sheen was seen to be overcome with emotion when he told Mannings: “You’ve made such an incredible difference to people going through their darkest moments. It’s an honour to give you this.”

Sheen also stated on camera that he felt passionate about honouring Mannings at this year’s awards:

 “I felt what Rhian had gone through herself personally was unimaginable – the darkest of darkest experiences.

“She was able to not only survive that but transform her experience into something that helps so many other people at their darkest, loneliest, most vulnerable moments, when they are most in need, at a time when it’s so hard for them to help themselves.

“I was so moved by that and felt like it really did need proper recognition, and the Pride of Britain Awards is such a wonderful way to do it.”

Craig Mannings, Rhian Mannings and her children (Picture credit: Rowan Griffiths)

After living through this devastating tragedy, Mannings has found happiness again.  She remarried in 2018 to the lovely Craig Mannings, who she met through her charity work. Her husband, Craig, helped to arrange the surprise of being awarded the Pride of Britain Award.

To donate to this amazing charity, visit www.justgiving.com/2wishuponastar

If anyone needs support, please;

  • Call their immediate support worker on 01443 853125
  • Call the office Monday – Friday 9.30 – 4.30pm or email support@2wishuponastar.org

For more information, visit 2wishuponastar.org

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