Paul O'Grady receives outstanding contribution to animal welfare prize at the Animal Hero Awards

Paul O’Grady has been recognised at the Animal Hero Awards, as the TV presenter was named the winner of the outstanding contribution to animal welfare prize.

The prestigious awards ceremony saw the UK’s leading animal welfare charity, the RSPCA, team up with the Daily Mirror to celebrate the most inspiring examples of bravery and resilience in the animal world.

The awards honour people who have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of animals.

Paul was awarded the prestigious gong thanks to his work as an ambassador for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and for being a patron of the Orangutan Appeal UK and CROW based in Durban, South Africa, as well as several UK-based animal charities. His work on his TV shows, such as The Paul O’Grady Show and For The Love Of Dogs has also helped to inspire and make people aware of conservation issues.

Amanda Holden hosted the star-studded event – which saw the likes of Alesha Dixon, Brian May, Ferne McCann, Tom Fletcher and Laura Whitmore in attendance – and said she was “delighted” to be there.

She added: “It’s so important to recognise those who selflessly dedicate themselves to animal welfare – as well as the outstanding animals themselves, of course!”

RSPCA chief executive Jeremy Cooper said: “The Animal Hero Awards is a fantastic and unique evening celebrating those people who go the extra mile for animals, as well as the animals who really make a difference to the lives of those around them.

“Every finalist deserved recognition and the winners’ stories were incredible. Particularly seeing the work of our West Hatch Animal Centre in pioneering a scheme turning rescue dogs into police sniffer dogs – those dogs are the definition of overcoming adversity to become a real-life animal hero.”

Check out the winners of every award in full, and why they were chosen:

RSPCA superstar of the year: Mike Butcher from Worthing

Mike is the RSPCA’s longest serving frontline officer, who has defied death threats to bring some of Britain’s most notorious animal criminals to justice.

Rescue animal of the year: Lucy the Cavalier from Studley

Rescued from a cage on a puppy farm, Lucy is now the figurehead of a national campaign against puppy farming.

Outstanding business of the year: Barratt Homes in Aylesbury

Putting animal welfare at the heart of its housing developments, with safe spaces for wildlife alongside new homes for people.

Young animal enthusiast of the year: Lucy Gavaghan from Sheffield and Liam Landymore from Shebbear

Lucy inspired 280,000 people to support her campaign to stop a supermarket selling eggs from caged hens and Liam campaigns for cruelty-free dog training methods.

Hero animal of the year: Baxter from Renfrewshire, Scotland

Baxter saved the life of a six-year-old girl who was choking to death after suffering a seizure.

Vet of the year: Janey Lowes originally from Durham (now in Sri Lanka)

Janey gave up her job in England to set up a charity to treat sick and injured street dogs, cats and monkeys in Sri Lanka.

Caring animal of the year: Haatchi from Basingstoke

Haatchi has formed a heartwarming bond with a ten-year-old boy suffering from a rare genetic disorder confining him to a wheelchair.

Special recognition award: Sue Dicks and Lee Webb from Clevedon and Taunton respectively

Their groundbreaking work with rescue dogs has seen 12 of these become police sniffer dogs.

Public service animal of the year: Rex from Dorset and Hexam, Captain and Tangle the police horses from Manchester, Macclesfield and Accrington

These horses braved fireworks and smoke bombs to prevent violent clashes between football fans after a match at Old Trafford and Rex cleared a path through a WWII minefield under fire but was denied a bravery medal when chiefs found out he was a stray.

Animal enthusiast of the year: Martin Hemmington from Bromsgrove

Martin is an inspirational campaigner and rescuer who set up the National Fox Welfare Society and has devoted his life to fox welfare.

Lifetime achievement award: David Shepherd from Surrey

David founded the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, which funds key projects in Africa and Asia working to save critically endangered mammals in the wild.

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