Hard to believe it is 20 years since we launched the search for our first Pride of Britain winners.
It was 1999 and, in many ways, the country was a very different place.
It was a time before smartphones and social media.
We were all excited about the new millennium, Britney topped the charts with Baby One More Time, and Man City were in the third division.
But the things that make the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards , in partnership with TSB, such a uniquely special celebration are the same today as they ever were.
In 2019, just as in 1999, there are incredible men, women and children who deserve to be recognised.
These ordinary, extraordinary people are usually too modest to push themselves into the limelight.
That’s why today we launch our 20th anniversary appeal for nominations. We need you to tell us about Britain’s unsung heroes.
Thanks to having the immense privilege of hosting Pride of Britain, I have met hundreds of the most remarkable, brave and inspirational people from every corner of the country.
But we can only honour them at our wonderful awards celebration in the autumn if you tell us about them.
You can read about the categories on the nomination form on this page.
But from children of courage to a 111-year-old Great War veteran and our amazing lifetime achievement recipients over the years, our winners all share the same selfless, indomitable spirit.
If you are unsure about whether someone you know deserves a Pride of Britain Award, some memorable stories from the last two decades may inspire you.
Perhaps you know a foster carer with the same boundless reserves of love and compassion as the wonderful Jean Forrest, a winner in 2000.
Jean had fostered more than 600 children over 37 years at her home in West Sussex, and a lot of them came on stage when actress Martine McCutcheon presented her with the award.
Jean had children of her own, too, but she fostered all ages, from babies to teenagers, and those with special needs.
When she walked on, it was almost like she had this glow around her. There was this immense feeling of love when you were around her, and this incredible calming effect.
We all cried, and she was so incredibly grateful. But it was that loving feeling – I’ve always remembered it.
Some of our winners have been people who changed the world, such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, Dr Chad Varah, who founded the Samaritans, Amnesty International founder Peter Benenson, and Sir Nicholas Winton who saved 669 children from the Nazis in the Second World War.
Another of those was astronaut Dr Piers Sellers, a winner in 2006. This year is the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, and Piers, the third Brit in space, is at the forefront of my mind.
After I met him at Pride of Britain, he became a really good friend, and was such an inspiration to me. He had broken the British record for the longest time spacewalking, with 41 hours.
Space walkers are extraordinary – immensely modest, trained to stay very calm, but everything they do is dangerous. He had risked his life to push the boundaries of what we know.
The great thing about Piers was not just what he achieved, it was his personality, his Monty Python humour. He was hardworking, but very funny. And he genuinely wanted to help people.
Through him, I now work with NASA’s education centres, and my daughter, Katie, a nanotechnology scientist, worked there on the robot Curiosity, which is now on Mars.
Piers sadly passed away in 2016, aged 61, after being diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and the way he wrote the email to tell his friends said it all, telling us: “I don’t have to worry about parking tickets any more.”
Another winner who became a dear friend is Pepe Rahman Hart, who I met at the 2008 awards. She was a 39-year-old headteacher in a primary school in Radstock, near Bath.
Radstock is an old mining town and socially deprived, yet she won outstanding Ofsted reports for 10 years, the Sat results were in the top 5% in the UK and the kids absolutely adored her.
It was, again, all about love. She just loved children and they loved her back.
She had been brought up Muslim with an Indian mother and Pakistani father, yet taught in a Church of England school. She was just unique with this gift for bringing people together.
She met Doreen Lawrence through Pride of Britain and put up a sculpture in Stephen Lawrence’s memory in the school playground – that was a great Pride of Britain collaboration.
Doreen and Neville Lawrence had been honoured at the first Pride of Britain in 1999.
Their son Stephen, 18, had been murdered for the colour of his skin in 1993, and they had been told the men who had done it would not be brought to justice.
Yet they fought on and finally forced the government to take notice. What they went through was horrendous, but the strength that Doreen especially, showed, I will never forget.
She was still grieving, but she just had this immense dignity. It was how she conducted herself that was so overwhelming to me. I remember the standing ovation even now.
Some truly memorable Pride of Britain moments come from the children we meet.
Ella Chadwick won a Child of Courage award just last year. I was bowled over by her. She was 11 when she won, and had spent her life in and out of hospital after being born with congenital nephrotic syndrome, a rare kidney disease.
She had undergone six years of dialysis and 40 operations and suffered several strokes before she received a kidney from her gran in 2014.
Despite having limited mobility and diabetes Ella would spend her time making cards for all the other children in hospital.
She charmed everyone on the awards night, and was very funny. This is the thing about all our children of courage, their attitude is always, “Don’t feel sorry for me, because I’m happy”. Ella was an absolute joy, encapsulating that.
Moin Younis had won our hearts in 2017.
Moin said he had felt like ending his life the year before, because of the pain he was in.
But then the teen from Birmingham watched Pride of Britain and thought, “No, I’m not going to do that, I want to be the kind of person who wins a Pride of Britain Award” and a year later he got his award – and a kiss from Nicole Scherzinger, too.
Aged 17 when he won, Moin had been diagnosed with epidermolysis bullosa at two months old and his parents were told he would not live beyond his first birthday.
He lacks the protein needed to bind the layers of his skin together, so it tears and blisters at the slightest touch. He has scarring across his body as well as wounds which will never fully heal.
What was instantly moving was his humour, despite his pain. He sent a real message to all of us about appreciating the health we have got.
Our older winners often have the same joyful spirit as the youngest.
Jean Bishop, the bee lady, won Fundraiser of the Year in 2013.
She shook a collection tin in Hull for Age UK – dressed like a bee. She’d begun in her seventies and raised almost £100,000. I’ll never forget David Walliams , dressed like a bee too, surprising Jean with her award.
She also went into residential homes to put a smile on people’s faces, even though she was probably older than most of them at 91.
It was very humbling to meet Jean, as it has been to meet all of our winners, who can teach us all so much, primarily about selflessness.
I know I will feel the same when I meet this year’s winners at the 20th anniversary Pride of Britain Awards at Grosvenor House in the autumn.
So please, please, use the form on this page, or go online and nominate the unsung heroes you know about.
We can’t do it without you.