Stars praise ‘amazing job’ of Armed Forces at awards ceremony

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Celebrities have joined members of the Armed Forces at a red carpet awards ceremony recognising the contributions of the military.

Dame Kelly Holmes, Ross Kemp, Gareth Southgate and Defence Minister Gavin Williamson were among the guests who attended The Sun’s Military Awards, also known as The Millies, on Thursday evening in central London.

The Sun Military Awards
England football manager Gareth Southgate attended The Millies (Yui Mok/PA)

“They do fantastic work and we need to recognise them.”

Dame Kelly served in the Army for 10 years.

The Sun Military Awards
Dame Kelly Holmes served in the Army for 10 years (Yui Mok/PA)

“They do an amazing job and it is really important we say thanks, it really is.”

Nine awards were given out on the night.

The Hero at Home unit award went to the Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Task Force for their response to the Salisbury chemical attack.

The Hero at Home individual award went to Commander Andrew Parkinson for rescuing a woman who was trapped underwater beneath a yacht in a Hampshire marina.

Scott Ratcliffe, who serves in the Parachute Regiment and is the partner of Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh, said the awards were a “very special night for the military”.

He added: “The families themselves are the ones that go through the most turmoil and if we can celebrate them as much as we celebrate the individuals who serve, I think that is particularly important because they are the ones that are left at home and have to keep the pieces together together once we are away.”

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who hosted the nominees at a reception in 10 Downing Street, said it was an “honour” to attend the ceremony.

He added: “Whether by rescuing civilians from conflict, helping Salisbury recover from a reckless chemical attack or standing up to the appalling use of chemical weapons in Syria, tonight’s nominees have shown the brilliance and bravery of our armed forces.”

Other awards included the Best Reservist, which went to Corporal Isabell Hutchinson for sensitively preventing a young woman from committing suicide and the Inspiring Others award, which was presented by Southgate to Major Scott Mills for his training of the England football team ahead of this year’s World Cup.

The event was held in Banqueting House in central London.

The Sun Military Awards
Nick Knowles helped to renovate homes for ex-soldiers on DIY SOS (Yui Mok/PA)

He added: “We get to live our lives and have the freedom to do the things we do because of our forces looking after us and we want to make sure they are all looked after when they come home.”

An Innovation Award went to the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory for its work on a sepsis diagnosis breakthrough, a Support to the Armed Forces award went to remembrance group There But Not There for their work commemorating the First World War.

Hero Overseas individual awards went to a group of British Army soldiers for their response to the Las Vegas shooting and the Hero Overseas unit award went to HMS Daring for guarding shipping routes around the world.

A Judges’ Award for Special Recognition award went to RAF100 for its success in celebrating the centenary of the Royal Air Force.

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