Pride of Britain viewers in tears as Ribble Valley best friends Freddie and Hughie are announced winners in heartwarming scenes

Best friends forever from the Ribble Valley Hughie Higginson and Freddie Xavi came under the national spotlight last night.

By Faiza Afzaal
Friday, 5th November 2021, 10:05 am

The inspirational duo, who raised a staggering £220,000 for Royal Manchester Children's Hospital were surprised by Ant and Dec during Daily Mirror’s Pride Of Britain Awards, which was aired yesterday evening (Thursday).

For the best friends were announced as this year's Good Morning Britain Young Fundraiser Pride of Britain award winners for raising the massive amount of money after Hughie was diagnosed with leukaemia and Whalley boy Freddie vowed to help him to thank his doctors and nurses.

The boys travelled to London over the weekend with their parents and rubbed shoulders with 150 famous faces – including Prince Charles, Ant and Dec, Holly Willoughby, Ed Sheeran, Sharon Stone and Simon Cowell – who came together to celebrate unsung heroes.

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Olympian Mo Farah with Hughie Higginson and Freddie Xavi

Hughie (11), who lives in Higham and is a pupil of Ribblesdale High School, Clitheroe, 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.

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.

Last night millions of viewers saw the duo speaking in a VT. The best friends admitted that people call them a "mini Ant and Dec" as they were treated to a day out at I'm A Celebrity Jungle Challenge for their hard work. But what they didn't realise was Ant and Dec were secretly hiding at the venue before surprising the duo in heartwarming scenes!

They were surprised on stage by British YouTuber KSI and Olypian Mo Farah who handed over the prestigious awards.

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."

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!"