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Good Morning Britain hosts annual 1 Million Minutes Awards

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Good Morning Britain hosts annual 1 Million Minutes Awards

Good Morning Britain today dedicated the last hour of the ITV breakfast show to a very special 1 Million Minutes Awards ceremony.

The event was in honour of ‘ordinary people doing extraordinary things’ to combat loneliness. The awards – now in their third year – were hosted by Ben Shephard and Charlotte Hawkins, as the 1MM pledges totalled over 109 million minutes during the live show.

The Dame Barbara Windsor Loneliness Award went to Carole Goulding who runs a specialist tearoom called ‘Grandma’s Pudding Co‘ in Friskney, Lincolnshire. The not-for-profit organisation offers volunteer work to those with early onset dementia and launched in May 2021. Carole initially set it up to give her daughter Sam, who has learning difficulties some much needed work experience.

She was presented her special award by the late Dame Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell and friend and former co-star Jake Wood. Scott said: “All I can say to you is I know what it takes to care for one person living with dementia, and I know you live with Mark [her husband]. To be able to give your time to other people on top of that, is beyond anything I can imagine and you’re a very special lady. So thank you for everything you do for everyone.”

Earlier, she was told of her award by Rylan Clark and Alison Hammond during a special This Morning tour. Carole said: “It was a total shock to be honest. I had no idea what was going on.”  In December 2021 Carole’s husband, Mark, was officially diagnosed with early onset dementia when he was 53 years old. It was always Carole’s dream to open up a tearoom with Mark.

Mark initially helped out in the tearoom as it helped with his condition, so Carole opened up volunteering opportunities to others in the same position.

The Mental Health Loneliness Award was bestowed on inspiring winner Sandy Kaur. Sandy works within the Sikh and Punjabi communities to identify and deal with mental health struggles. Sandy said: “It’s very surreal. The work that I do is very much for community and people that need a space to talk and find someone that’s representing them as a community and as an individual.” She went on: “It’s to provide a selfless service to communities over the last five years and that’s what we do.” 

Lorraine Kelly, who presented her with her award, said: “I think the work you do is absolutely brilliant and this award is… It just goes from strength-to-strength.” Sandy founded her first project called Sikh Forgiveness back in 2018, and later established the organisation Sehhat in 2022. Sehhat built projects such as the Sikh Forgiveness platform, Chit chat chaa, LuMENosity and the Your Sehhat groups.

Young Loneliness Champion Award was issued to inspiring Ben Pennycock, 16, who set up a lunchtime club teaching younger students one skill a week in a bid to help them feel less isolated and help them make friends. His Build Your Confidence Club launched at Bourne Grammar School two years ago, after Ben attended anti-bullying training at school.

Presented his award by Troy The Magician, Ben said: “I feel great and I’m surprised.” Ben’s mum Wendy spoke to Ben from the star-studded audience and said: “There are no words. He’s just amazing. Isn’t it just fantastic that children can do these things.” In an earlier VT, the show heard from pupils whose lives had been enriched by the club.

Ben said: “I did feel a sense of loneliness and isolation before I started the club. I had friends but when I started the club I was surrounded by people that I could communicate with and, essentially, help.”

Sarah Kettlety and her partner Nick started Animal Antiks a decade ago, after Nick was involved in a car accident. GMB bestowed the Animal Loneliness Champion Award to this cause. Animal Antiks uses farm and rescued animals to support children and adults with emotional, behavioural, mental health and special needs, as well as those suffering anxiety or social isolation.

Today Sarah, one of the first therapeutic foster carers in the country, told Charlotte: “Animals just don’t judge. This rabbit could probably tell you a thing or two. We talk to it all day long. I should bug it.” Sarah collected the awards with one of her rabbits, a Giant Continental called Maltese. She added: “We have two mental health walks a week where we collect people from the community that can’t reach us. They come for an hour and walk with the alpacas and they just chat and the alpacas just break the silence and give them something to chat about.”

JLS star JB Gill, who has his own farm, presented the award. He said: “You are doing a fantastic job. You not only change the lives of animals but humans too, so keep going.” After his accident Nick was laid off from work for months and Sarah had to give up work to nurse him. Nick also said the accident left him feeling isolated and lonely, so this was what inspired the couple to open up their farm and share the animals with others. Nick’s background is a farmer and Sarah’s background is working with children with challenging behaviours.

The Len Goodman Award in tribute to the much-loved former Strictly judge – went to winner Dabirul Islam Choudhury, who turns 104 in January. Dabirul rose to national prominence at the age of 100 when he decided to raise funds during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 by walking every day during Ramadan while fasting. He was subsequently awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his effort.

Since then, Dabirul has continued his global initiative and fundraising efforts. In April 2021 10,000 people joined his campaign ‘Walk with Dabir Chacha‘. Last year, Dabirul invited people from all around the world to join him for a ‘Moment of Silence’ to remember victims of the Ukraine war and other countries in a bid to create awareness and raise funds for refugees, vulnerable children, women and families.

Earlier on in a VT, Dabirul added: “If you help others, it will come to you.” The special award was given by Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood, ahead of this weekend’s final. Paying an emotional tribute to head judge Len Goodman, who passed away on 22nd April this year, he said: “He would be over-the-moon, delighted that there is this honour in his name.

“He was a brilliant, brilliant person and he always helped people throughout his life. I’ve been witness to that, just in the streets, going up to people. He was always very chatty. He was quite amazing so this is so fitting.”

Good Morning Britain’s 1 Million Minutes campaign aims to encourage viewers to pledge their time to charities that tackle the issue of loneliness. Since launching in 2016, over a billion minutes have been donated to charities in need of volunteers who can connect with those who feel alone. 

Good Morning Britain’s 1 Million Minutes campaign weekdays this December from 6am on ITV1 and pledge here itv.com/1millionminutes

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