- About us
- What we do
- Campaigns & Policy
- Services in your area
Unsung heroes who have helped children and families through tough times have been honoured at the 4Children and Take a Break Family Heroes Awards.
The awards, now in their fourth year, celebrate inspirational people in every region of the country who are nominated by the families they have supported.
Judges from national children and families charity 4Children and Take a Break magazine had the difficult task of choosing 12 regional Family Heroes from a record number of nominations.
Dan and Joanne Thompson from Bramhall in Cheshire were crowned National Family Heroes 2014, after being named North West regional winners.
Dan and Joanne were presented with a £5,000 cash prize at a glittering awards ceremony at Plaisterers’ Hall in London, hosted by Richard Arnold, Entertainment Editor on ITV’s breakfast show Good Morning Britain.
Dan and Joanne’s lives changed forever when they lost their beautiful nine-month–old daughter, Millie, in October 2012 when she choked on her lunch on her third day at nursery and tragically died.
Through their grief, Dan and Joanne made the decision to start a charity in their daughter’s name, Millie’s Trust. They both gave up their jobs, Joanne as a quantity surveyor and Dan as a computer design technician to retrain in first aid so they could teach others lifesaving first aid skills to try and prevent other families going through the pain they suffered.
Everything we do is in Millie’s legacy and this will always continue to be the reason. We don't want Millie's passing to be in vain and what we are doing in her memory is creating a lasting legacy.
We both cried when we heard we had been nominated for a Family Hero Award. I think that says it all. It's hard for us to understand why we get nominated for awards - especially specifically for us as parents, we concentrate so hard working on the charity that sometimes we gloss over the fact we are grieving parents and an award like this actually made us stop in our tracks and realise that actually what we are doing is making a real difference and it's all in Millie's memory.
We were in absolute shock when we won the national Family hero award - there were so many worthy winners there on the evening that it was special enough to win the regional award, to win the national award was just absolutely fantastic - albeit we both sat there looking at each other when our names were called as though we had imagined hearing it!
Paramedic Sara Harris, who nominated the couple, said:
They have taken the worst possible thing that could happen to any parent and turned that grief into something so positive.
Richard Arnold said:
Raising a family is one of life’s most incredible and rewarding experiences but it is also one of the hardest jobs out there and sometimes we all need a bit of extra help. The Family Heroes have inspired and supported children and families from across the UK through difficult times and the awards are an opportunity to celebrate what they have done and say thank you.
4Children Chief Executive Anne Longfield OBE said:
Losing a child is the most tragic experience a parent can go through. Dan and Joanne have created a wonderful legacy for their daughter, Millie, which has helped to save other young lives.
We all need heroes at some point in our lives. Dan and Joanne’s story epitomise Family Heroes – people who selflessly give their time and energy to help children and families through tough times. Our awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate Family Heroes and to say thank you.
Editor of Take a Break, Rebecca Fleming said:
It was an enormous privilege to meet all our Family Heroes finalists and to hear their stories. They are special people who every day go the extra mile to help others through difficult times. To us, they are all true heroes.