Julie Reay narrowly misses out on Pride of Britain award - but remains the pride of Wearside

Julie Reay, centre, with her team from Footprints in the Sand'Sunderland Lions Club annual Boxing Day Dip, Seaburn, Sunderland, 2012

Julie Reay, centre, with her team from Footprints in the Sand'Sunderland Lions Club annual Boxing Day Dip, Seaburn, Sunderland, 2012

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She may have narrowly missed out on the Pride of Britain award, but she’s still the pride of Wearside.

Tonight, charity champion Julie Reay, 47, attended the Pride of Britain awards, the nation’s biggest celebration of its unsung heroes.

The Barnes mum, who won the North East ITV Fundraiser Award earlier this month, sat amongst nominees from around the country at a glittering ceremony at Grosvenor House hotel in London’s Park Lane.

Though other winners found out ahead of the ceremony, Julie’s category of overall regional fundraiser was so hotly-fought it was announced on the night.

The award went to Paula Maguire, who raises funds for research into motor neurone disease and helped bring the ice bucket challenge to the UK.

Julie says although she didn’t win the national award, she feels proud to have been mentioned amongst the cream of the country.

“I have met some amazing people tonight and I feel honoured just to be in the same room as them,” she said.

Alongside Julie and her daughter Vicky Bond, 32, in attendance at the red carpet ceremony were Prince Charles, David Beckham, David Cameron, Simon Cowell and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.

Julie faced every parent’s worst nightmare when her beloved son Peter, 13, died in a tragic rope swing accident in Galley’s Gill in 2002.

She channelled her grief to help others and set up the Peter David Lane Trust Fund, which has raised more than £150,000 for local causes.

Just some of those to benefit from Julie’s dedication over the years are Southwick Primary School who were presented with a Sunshine Coach, RNLI, Great North Air Ambulance, Teenage Cancer Trust North East, Wearside Women in Need and Sunderland Royal Hospital.

“I feel so proud to have represented the North East and, of course, our Peter,” said Julie.

Julie was nominated for the gong by Janice Procter, mum of Private Michael Tench, who died aged 18 in 2007 in Iraq.

Julie said: “I could not have done any of this without the support of my family and friends, the people who support the fund and Janice. This has been an amazing few weeks and the messages I have had from people have completely blown me away.”

•The Pride of Britain will be aired on ITV on Thursday at 8pm.