The pride of Sunderland is on her way to London to rub shoulders with the cream of the country.
City charity champion, Julie Reay, 47, is en route to the Pride of Britain awards, the nation’s biggest celebration of its unsung heroes.
The Barnes mum, who won regional winner of the ITV Fundraiser Award, will be sat amongst nominees from around the country at a glittering ceremony at Grosvenor House hotel in London’s Park Lane.
She’ll also be meeting high-profile people like Prince Charles, David Cameron, David Beckham, Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and the Osbournes who will be in attendance to see who will be crowned Pride of Britain.
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 be representing the North East and, of course, our Peter,” said Julie who is attending the ceremony with daughter Vicky Bond, 32.
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.
“It doesn’t matter what happens tonight, it’s just a privilege to be there. There will be lots of celebrities there, but they’re not the stars tonight. There will be some amazing people there and it’s an honour just to be in the same room as them.”
Peter Willis, founder of the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards, said: “Many congratulations to Julie on her achievement. We’re delighted she will join us at the Pride of Britain Awards. It’s going to be a night to remember.”
Speaking about the awards, Prince Charles, who will congratulate the Prince’s Trust Achiever of the Year Duane Jackson, said: “The Pride of Britain Awards are a unique way to celebrate the achievements of the most remarkable of people.”
The ceremony will be aired on ITV on Thursday at 8pm.