This Christmas, pop sensation Kylie Minogue thanks BBC Make a Difference Award winners

For their acts of bravery and selflessness

In a Christmas special on local BBC radio stations, the pop icon meets winners from the BBC Make a Difference Awards


BBC Radio 1

In a Christmas special on your local BBC radio station, pop icon Kylie Minogue meets some of the ‘Bravery’ winners from the BBC Make a Difference Awards’ held by Local BBC Radio stations in September.

The winners were presented with their accolades at ceremonies across England. The aim of the annual awards is to shine a light on every day, unsung heroes who go that extra mile for others in their community. From the thousands of nominations, a shortlist was drawn up and a winner chosen by a special panel of judges from their local region.

Now, some of these exceptional people get to meet pop legend Kylie Minogue and tell her about their remarkable stories of courage and bravery.

Volunteer firefighter Tony De Matteis from Peterborough was nominated by his daughter Sonia and recognised by the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Make a Difference Awards. Until his retirement earlier this month, Tony was the longest serving member of the only volunteer fire brigade in the UK in Peterborough. He also had a demanding full-time job and yet gave up his spare time to protect the local community as a fully qualified firefighter. As chief officer, he put his life on the line to attend calls day and night, often missing key family events and using his precious free time to fight fires, attend road traffic collisions and deal with life changing events for those in his city and beyond.

His daughter Sonia said: “My dad is a real superhero; he has been doing this for nearly four decades and I think it’s nice to be recognised. Volunteering in any capacity is amazing, but to do it for an emergency service and do it with a passion that dad has done all these years, is nothing short of amazing.”

Tony, who is a huge Kylie fan said: “I became a volunteer firefighter in 1984 and for me it’s something I enjoy doing and helping people in need.”

Kylie said: “Tony, this feels as if it is from absolutely the heart, and you do it because that’s who you are. I have full admiration and I can see why Sonia has nominated you and got you here today.”

In a series of special shows across England, we will also hear from singers James Blunt, and Rick Astley who will meet amazing Make a Difference Award winners to hear their inspiring stories, like eighteen-year-old, Ben Thornbury from Malmesbury in Wiltshire, who won the award from BBC Radio Wiltshire for being a great neighbour in his community. Ben is a huge James Blunt fan and since the age of thirteen, Ben has quietly been doing lots of jobs around his town to help his community. He also helps with the Christmas and Halloween trails and helps with the local foodbank, doing as much as possible to better his community.

Ben said: “We needed to make a difference in our community, so I went out there and started by cutting a hedge, which helped a wheelchair user. We did more and more and even started cleaning up the river to make a positive impact on the community.

James said: “This is amazing and what I love about that is that most people think it’s always someone else’s job to do that and leave it for someone else to do and nothing ever gets done. But to have someone who is a get up and go person like you and say I will do this today rather than wait for someone else to do it tomorrow, makes such a huge difference. I was in the army, and it was all about people, who say I can do that, and it sounds as if you are that kind of person who just gets up and does things and as a result it makes everyone’s life better, so well done.”

Chris Burns, Controller Local Audio Commissioning for England said: “We’ve heard some amazingly inspiring stories on all our 39 local BBC radio stations about remarkable people doing extraordinary things for others in our communities and we want to share their stories across our local radio stations throughout the festive period. Make a Difference is all about changing lives of others for the better.”

Listen to your local BBC radio station on Friday 1 December from 6am to hear more about what’s to come this Christmas across England.

Remember we have an hour-long special on Tuesday 26 Dec (Boxing Day) 9am-10am, with Kylie Minogue thanking Make a Difference Award winners for their bravery and kindness across all local BBC radio stations.

Other programming across Local BBC Radio this festive December:

• On Christmas Eve at Midnight, we will have an hour special of the Make a Difference - Keeping the Faith at Christmas, A Journey of Faiths from around the UK including a Christmas visit to the MILITARY GOSPEL CHOIR presented by Louise Hulland from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

• On Christmas Morning at 6am, we will be exploring Keeping the Faith at Christmas again followed by the Christmas Day service at 7am – 7.30am. The Rev Geoff Eze Vicar of All Saints Church, in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent leads our service on Christmas Sunday morning across all 39 Local BBC Radio stations. As part of the service Glen Scrivener will deliver the Christmas Morning Message. Glen is a Church of England Minister based on the south coast who heads up SPEAK LIFE – a charity encouraging the benefits of engaging with Faith. He will be introducing us to a 21st Century Carol written by Sovereign Grace church – Oh Come all You UN-Faithful – and talking about how Christ’s birth impacts multicultural Britain today to bring us together at Christmas time.

• From 2pm on Christmas Day, BBC presenter Simone Riley is the perfect company for Christmas afternoon with live updates from families and homes around the UK to hear how Christmas Day is being celebrated across the UK.

• From 6pm Christmas Day, Gagan Grewal presents BBC Local Radio’s exploration into our communities that don’t celebrate Christmas or that mark the holiday in different ways.

• On Tuesday 26 Dec (Boxing Day) 9am-10am, we have a special hour-long programme with Kylie Minogue thanking Make a Difference Award winners for their bravery and kindness across all local BBC radio stations.

• On Wednesday 27 December 9am -10am, we will have a special Make a Difference Awards special with singer James Blunt, which will be repeated between 21.00 -22.00 in the evening.

•On Thursday 28 December 9am – 10am, we will have another special programme, this time with singer Rick Astley thanking winners of the Make a Difference Awards across England.
Then on Friday 29 December 9am -10am, we will have a Best of the Make a Difference Award Winners special.

Source BBC Radio 1

December 4, 2023 2:00am ET by BBC Radio 1  

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