It is courageous people like Nina Barough who make Carol Vorderman appreciate just how precious life is.

Her eyes light up as she bounds over to the cancer charity fundraiser in a London park.

She flings her arms around her, crying: “You’re a wonderful woman.”

It is an admiration that runs deep – born 20 years ago on the stage of the Pride of Britain awards.

Nina, who had battled breast cancer, had launched her ‘Walk The Walk’ charity in which women sporting their bras take on power-walk challenges including marathons to raise money to fight the disease.

Carol was hosting the night - a job she has relished for the past two decades.

Carol walks with Nina Barough, the Fundraiser of the year winner, 2008

And today, a special ITV documentary sees Carol reunited with Nina and other inspiring award-winners in a show that celebrates the 20th anniversary of the momentous annual event.

“I’m very lucky,” Carol admits, reflecting on her job, that’s earned her the nickname “Mrs Pride Of Britain”.

Since it’s birth, Nina’s ‘Walk The Walk’ fund-raiser - which sees women take part in a walk sporting bras - has raised over £133million to help fight breast cancer

“I meet these amazing people and a lot of them are ill and you just think ‘wow, they are incredible’.

“They almost all say that every day is precious.

Carol at her first ever Mirror Pride of Britain awards in 1999
Host Carol Vorderman in 2019

“And I know it’s a cliché but I actually try to live that way.

“Not in the way that every day might be my last, but as if a doctor has told me I have ten healthy years left and asked ‘how would you like to live your life now?’”.

In the ITV documentary, Carol also meets Aston Villa obsessive Moin Younis, 19, who is hoping for a cure for a rare condition which makes his skin tear at the slightest touch.

His ‘can do’ attitude is remarkable.

“Moin’s condition has worsened since we first met him,” she tells viewers.

“True to himself, his spirits are positive as always.

Carol gives Nina her award in 2008

She also meets comedian Jack Carrol - who literally laughs in the face of cerebral palsy.

Then their’s former Child Of Courage Rachel Edwards - who won aged seven in 2001.

Rachel was never expected to walk, stand or even sit up by herself after chemotherapy treatment for cancer aged four left her disabled.

Liam Fairhurst won the Child of Courage Award in 2008

But she defied the odds, not only learning how to walk but eventually taking part in PE lessons and the school sports day.

Carol said: “The last time I saw Rachel she was a little seven-year-old who was this cute little thing who refused a second kiss from Robbie Williams.

“She doesn’t have any feeling in her legs now, but she hasn’t let any of her considerable set-backs hold her back.

“It was amazing to meet them again. Amazing.

“The producers kept me away from filming until the moment I met the winners again so what you see on screen in my real reaction.

“It was so lovely to see how much everyone has come on and a surprise to see how some of the young children have grown in to adults. It was very emotional.”

Carol hasn't seen Rachel Edwards since she was seven-years-old

She’s enjoyed four decades as a veteran broadcaster.

For 26 years she was smart, sassy mathematical genius on Countdown.

She’s been a Loose Women panellist. She’s survived a stint in the I’m A Celebrity jungle.

But despite being one of Britain’s most familiar faces, she loathes the title ‘Celebrity’.

“The awards have helped keep me down-to-earth, instead of getting carried away,” se reveals.

“I’m not interested in celebrity, I don’t care, If there’s a job of being a celebrity, which there seems to be these days, then I am the laziest.

Robbie Williams and Rachel Edwards attended the awards at London's Hilton Hotel

“It’s easy for people to form an opinion when they don’t know you.

"On TV, I get pigeon-holed for doing math, then I get pigeon-holed for being sciency, while all of my mates know I’m just a mischievous, party loving person who loves to laugh.

“In some ways I have to put on my serious face to do my telly work.”

She turns 59 on Christmas Eve.

She will celebrate this afternoon by watching the Pride of Britain special before heading out for a curry and karaoke session with friends, including Pepe Hart who she met on the show in 2008 as a Teacher of the Year winner.

Carol and Jack Carroll, winner of the Teenager of Courage Award in 2012

She will spend Christmas Day morning at her home in Bristol with daughter Katie, 27, a research scientist at Cambridge and son Cameron, 22, who is studying animation, before they head over to actress friend Lisa Maxwell’s home.

“The beauty of getting older is that you realise you can chose to be with the people you want to be with,” she says.

“I’ve deleted everything negative out of my life, including people. I’m just surrounded by friendly, positive people from all backgrounds.

“If I come across horrid things from people on Twitter I just block them.”

Carol is usually the picture of health and, as a keen walker, she has just bought a new home in West Wales where is enjoying the “beautiful, beautiful coastline.”

She remains adamant that she has no intention of sharing her new pad with anyone.

2017's Teenager of Courage recipient, Moin Younis

“I’m not dating anybody and have no intention of getting myself a boyfriend because I don’t want one,” she says.

“My lovely mum died a couple of years ago and I miss her terribly, but this is the first time in my life when I don’t think ‘I’ll go see mum for a couple of hours or I have to do the school run’.

“I’m enjoying my freedom. Almost all of my life has been spent with someone else. I’ve had long term boyfriends, been married twice and lived with two other people.

“I feel free to enjoy the little things in life. I’m not after grandeur. I've had offers in the past from very wealthy people but it’s just not me.”

“When you see people who are worse off than you - and I’m not talking financially – but they are so rich in spirit it guides you in life.

Callum Fairhurst with a picture of his brother Liam, a winner who sadly died in 2009

“I think there is a great spirit of helping others in the UK and we have an estimated 15 million people who volunteer at least one day a month.

“Whatever they are doing, whether it be in the military or volunteering in a shop, they are serving their country.

“They have that sense of duty. They are perhaps old-fashioned words but I think there is something very British about it – as a nation we generous of spirit.

“And if there’s something in the essence of people who win Pride of Britain it’s those qualities.”

Heroes who won our hearts

The crew of RNLI Torbay

Led by coxswain Mark Criddle, they battled through a storm to rescue eight stranded passengers from sinking cargo ship the Ice Prince.

Mark is now the most decorated cox in the RNLI, saving at least 20 lives.

He said of Ice Prince call-out: “It was one of those situations where if you got it wrong you were dead. A tricky old night really.”

The crew of the RNLI Torbay

Liam Fairhurst

Liam was battling a rare form of leg cancer when he met friend Jack while the pair were having chemotherapy.

When Jack died, Liam – despite his disability – did a sponsored swim in tribute to him, raising £250,000 for cancer research charities at just 10 years old.

Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington gave him his award. Liam died just a year later.

His brother Callum promised to continue his legacy and has raised a million pounds since Liam’s death.

Liam Fairhurst was presented his award by Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking won the lifetime achievement award for his contribution to science in 2016.

Despite having motor neurone disease at 21, and being given just two years to live, he became a world-famous physicist.

His book, a Brief History of Time, sold more than 10 million copies.

Stephen Hawking picked up the award for lifetime achievement

He said before his death last year: “Before my condition was diagnosed, I had been very bored with life. There had not seemed to be anything worth doing.”

Then he thought “if I was going to die anyway, I might as well do some good”.

Rachel Edwards

Rachel was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach and spine at four months old.

Famously, she met idol Robbie Williams on stage at the awards and refused a second kiss from him.

Now 26 and an employability coach at Leicester College, Rachel does stand-up comedy for Cancer Research and plays wheelchair volleyball, as she can no longer bear her own weight.

Rachel Edwards is now an employability coach at Leicester College

She said: “In school I was told I’d never be a teacher, never be able to control a class.

“Now I’ve got a group of learners I am teaching stuff to. And I love it.”

Moin Younis

Mo has spent his life in constant pain since he was a baby.

Moin Younis has skin condition Epidermolysis bullosa, which causes his skin to constantly fall off

He has skin condition Epidermolysis bullosa which means his skin keeps falling off.

He was surprised by David Beckham for his award and captured the nation’s hearts with his wit.

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Mo, now 19, is a young ambassador for Acorns, a hospice that helps children with life-limiting conditions.

He also runs a weekly vlog on his favourite football club Aston Villa.