'Incredible' best pals Freddie and Hughie win Pride of Britain award for raising over £200k for hospital charity

The parents of Hughie Higginson and Freddie Xavi are bursting with pride tonight.
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For the best friends were announced as this year's Good Morning Britain Young Fundraiser Pride of Britain award winners for raising more than £200,000 after Hughie was diagnosed with leukaemia and Whalley boy Freddie vowed to help him to thank his doctors and nurses.

The boys have travelled to London this weekend with their parents and this evening (Saturday) are rubbing shoulders with 150 famous faces – including Prince Charles, Ant and Dec, Holly Willoughby, Ed Sheeran, Sharon Stone and Simon Cowell – who are coming together to celebrate unsung heroes.

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Hughie (10), who lives in Higham and is a pupil of Wheatley Lane Primary School, Fence, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia last September and began three years of treatment at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. He wanted to say thank you to the medics looking after him so he signed up for the hospital charity’s fundraising walk. Sadly, on the day he was too ill to take part, which is when best pal and Whalley Primary School pupil Freddie stepped up. The 11-year-old devised his own fundraising challenge on behalf of his pal, running 2km every day in the 50 days leading up to Christmas. He completed the final 2km on Christmas morning, pounding the streets before opening his presents. Hughie summoned all his strength to join his mate on the final stretch so they could cross the line together, hand-in-hand.

Best friends Hughie Higginson and Freddie Xavi at the Pride of Britain award ceremony this eveningBest friends Hughie Higginson and Freddie Xavi at the Pride of Britain award ceremony this evening
Best friends Hughie Higginson and Freddie Xavi at the Pride of Britain award ceremony this evening

The Clarets-mad boys' inspirational friendship, and incredible fundraising efforts touched hearts in their Lancashire community and beyond, and the pair have now raised more than £220,000.

Earlier this year, the inspirational boys were honoured with a Pride of Manchester Award for their efforts.

Freddie's proud parents, Duncan and Sarah Ronnan, said: "The boys together have raised an incredible amount of money for the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. Freddie really stepped up at a time when his friend Hughie needed him most and for this to be recognised nationally by winning a Pride of Britain award is remarkable. We are so proud of Hughie and Freddie. We would also like to thank everyone for their incredible support."

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Hughie's delighted parents, Katy and Keiron, said: "We are so proud of what Hughie and Freddie have achieved and it is so good to see the money they have raised now being put to use around the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. Hughie is doing well with his treatment but still has a further two-and-half years of chemotherapy treatment at the hospital to undergo. Hughie continues to face his illness with the same positivity and bravery that he has shown throughout and we are all so proud of him!

"To win a Pride of Britain award is just surreal and caps off what has been a remarkable year! If you’d have told us this time last year what was going to happen I certainly wouldn’t have believed it. There have been so many positive things to come from such a difficult time. To win such a prestigious national award and to have Ant and Dec break the news shows how special the boys are and how they have captured the nation's heart and also how important it is to be there for your friends when they need it the most."

Georgia Sleigh from the hospital charity said: “Freddie and Hughie are just incredible – words just don’t do justice to how inspiring they both are.”

The awards which celebrate ordinary people doing extraordinary things, will be broadcast on ITV on Thursday, November 4th, at 8pm.

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