A Dudley schoolboy who rescued a drowning child whilst on a family holiday has been recognised as a ‘Child of Courage’ at the Pride of Birmingham Awards 2023. Other winners include a teenager with cerebral palsy who uses comedy to break down barriers and raise awareness and funds for others, and a family who have raised more than £330,000 to thank the medics who gave their little boy lifesaving care.

Finley Hassall, aged 11, was bodyboarding in the sea with his younger brother on a family holiday to Cornwall, when he heard another child shouting for help. A boy of about Finley’s age had been swept out by the current and was in danger of drowning.

Thinking fast, Finley, from Kingswinford, knew exactly what to do after recalling an article he had read about the ‘Float To Live’ technique, in the RNLI’s magazine for young supporters. He swam out to the boy, telling him to float on his back like a starfish to regain control of his breathing and helped him to stay calm.

Once the boy was floating more calmly, Finley put his arms around him and pulled him back to shore where his panicked mother was being comforted by Finley’s mother, Tara. To honour his bravery, Finley will receive ‘Child of Courage’ at tonight’s BirminghamLive Pride of Birmingham Awards with TSB 2023, which are taking place at University of Birmingham.

The event is being presented by Kym Marsh, who comments: “This is such an amazing group of winners. Their courage, selfless dedication, inspiration and kindness are exactly what the world needs right now. Hearing their incredible stories can’t fail to inspire you, and restore your faith in humanity. I can’t wait to meet them.”

BirminghamLive Pride of Birmingham Awards with TSB returns for another year and will welcome star-studded guests including Strictly Come Dancing’s Amy Dowden, Love Island’s Alex and Olivia Bowen, actor David Bradley, and musicians Ruby Turner and Tony Iommi, to name a few.

Other winners include:

  • Stephen Sutton Inspiration Award: Eva Abley, aged 14 from Cannock – a teenager with cerebral palsy who made it to the finals of Britain’s Got Talent with her comedy routine
  • Emergency Services Award: Deena Evans and Michael Hipgrave, aged 41 and 52 from Wolverhampton – two paramedics who were attacked by a knifeman when attending a wellness check with the police.
  • Outstanding Contribution: Chris Hoare, aged 75 from Edgbaston – formed the Birmingham Southwest Community Group in the early noughties to reform his crime-ridden estate.
  • Lifetime Achievement: Reverend Canon Eve Pitts from Birchfield, Birmingham – made The Church of England’s first black female vicar in 1994, and has since spent decades supporting parishioners, challenging racism, and calling out institutional prejudice in her own faith.
  • TSB Community Hero: Asha Rage, aged 45 from Small Heath – set up Dream Chasers FC in Small Heath to help get young people off the streets, which now has 160 players training weekly.
  • Triumph Over Adversity: The Chatting Family, from Lichfield – started the charity Carter The Brave and have raised over £330,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
  • Special Recognition Award: Dawn Astle, 55 from Swadlincote –Daughter of the former West Brom and England striker Jeff Astle, who died when he was 59 from early onset dementia. She launched the Jeff Astle Foundation in 2015 to raise awareness of brain injury in sport.
  • Special Recognition Award: Delores and Hector Pinkney, 71 and 70 from Handsworth – established the UK’s first independent Black organisation, The African Caribbean Self-Help Organisation, and the Dojo Project, which helps elderly people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
  • Spirit of Birmingham: The Commonwealth Games Volunteers – the army of 14,000 volunteers, without whom the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games couldn’t have happened.

On their partnership with the awards, Jodie O’Leary, Customer Services Director at TSB, said: “At TSB, we pride ourselves on being at the heart of the communities we serve, and the Pride of Birmingham awards are all about recognising the everyday heroes in those communities. As a proud Brummie myself, it is a huge honour to be part of the judging panel and is truly a humbling and heart-warming experience to hear the amazing stories behind every one of the nominees.”

The Birmingham Live Pride of Birmingham Awards with TSB is available to watch from 9 March, via the official Pride of Britain social media channels: @prideofbritain. To find out more, visit:

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