Matt and Claire Way enjoyed the glitzy Daily Mirror Pride of Britain awards along with 16 other ITV regional finalists.
Matt, from Newquay, won Southwest regional winner due to his hard work ensuring his son's legacy was not forgotten after he died at the age of just four in his parents' arms. Joe, who was born with Angelmans Syndrome, died after having a rare reaction to one of his drugs called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
The annual Paddle for Life in partnership with Newquay Towan Blystra Lions Club and Surf Life Saving Cornwall raises money from the paddlers entry money, food stalls, drink sales at the rowing club and the prize draw raffle.
Matt said: "It was such a massive loss when Joe died that we had to do something to fill that void. This has been amazing experience and a real credit to Joe's legacy. We have always told Joe's story to inspire people as he had battled ten superbugs and put up such a great fight which he always did with a smile. We just wanted to celebrate the positive way he dealt with everything”.
The Pride of Britain awards celebrate achievements of everyday men and women who have gone above and beyond were recognised at the star studded event at Grosvenor House in London.
Prince William, the Prime Minister and more than 100 of our best-loved celebrity’s music superstars, TV favourites, sporting legends and top politicians heard the individual stories of heroism.
The winners included Grenfell Tower families, heroic emergency service workers, a grieving childhood sweetheart and an anti-racism campaigner whose work led to the Race Relations Act of 1965.
Although Matt didn’t win the National award he has returned to Newquay planning next Junes Joe Way Paddle for Life with new energy and enthusiasm.
Matt said: “At the pre-event briefing one of ITV’s executives went through the 17 finalists stories and all of us were so inspired by what had been achieved by everyone in the room. The whole evening was amazing from walking up the red carpet to having the who’s who of the celebrity world joining us for selfies and asking us about our stories. The other finalists were all great fun and we have made some great contacts to help each other in the future. Jake who won the national fundraiser of the year was a well deserved winner and a lovely guy who we will be keeping in touch with and hopefully supporting in the future”.
Jake Coates married Emmy Collett, who was his childhood sweetheart only for her life to be cut short by cancer at the age of just 31. Despite her terminal diagnosis, Emmy joined Jake in charity work - raising a staggering amount of money for the The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, which helped her during her fight. Emmy died on June 20 this year and tonight her widower was awarded with the ITV fundraiser award at the Pride of Britain ceremony in central London, after nominations were made by ITV regional news viewers.
The star studded awards will be shown on ITV on Tuesday 7th November at 8pm.
Over a week of incredible stories from the Pride of Britain finalists, who've been nominated in the regional fundraiser of the year category, have ended up with Matt Way, who has organised the Joe Way Paddle for Life for the past decade in memory of his son winning.
Matt and wife Claire will be heading to the glitzy Daily Mirror Pride of Britain awards in a weeks’ time.
The three other nominees in the South West were mum-of-three Hayley Gwilliams, who set up the charity 'Footsteps for Freddie' last year to help acquire equipment for children with various conditions that prevent them from walking. Table tennis coach Liz May who organised #PinkPong and has since set up many other fundraisers for good causes. Justeen Easton from North Devon set up the charity 'Everything Ellie' two years ago following the death of her teenage daughter - Ellie.
Matt said: "I'm just feeling really humble. It was a complete surprise and after ten years of doing this to raise money for other people and to raise awareness about Joe's story it was a pleasant surprise".
Matt was surprised by ITV reporter Claire Manning with the award at Ben Skinners surfboard factory after Ben had set up a team photo to ensure Matt was at the right place at the right time.
Helen Bolton who nominated Matt for the award said: “We are so pleased for Matt and the whole family”.
The awards, hosted by The Mirror, celebrates achievements of people in the community who 'make the world a better place'. Winners are chosen after being whittled down from thousands of nominations, and are decided by a panel of judges.
The awards ceremony will be on ITV on Monday 30th October, please see below if you would like to become a sponsor at next years Paddle for Life 2018.
If you have then please support next years Joe Way Paddle for Life, which is being held on Thursday 28th June in Newquay, by donating to our charity pot. Remember 100% of your donation will go to one of our chosen charities or good causes in memory of Joe.
As one of four main sponsors we'll put your logo (large) on all 5000 of our flyers and banners.
Example of this years poster.