Steven Gerrard and Sir Kenny Dalglish have sent touching messages to two heroic winners at the Pride of Scotland awards.
The Liverpool legends each have Scottish connections, with Dalglish hailing from Glasgow and Gerrard currently managing Rangers, leading them to their first SPL title for 10 years last season.
The awards are an annual event held to celebrate the heroic achievements of inspirational figures from across the country, with awards stretching from bravery to community hero.
This year’s ceremony, being broadcast on STV on Tuesday evening saw a host of other celebrities such as James Corden and Alesha Dixon also honour the real stars with messages.
Gerrard presented Aaron Hunter with the Child of Courage Award.
“Congratulations on winning your award. Despite all you have been through you have always shown incredible strength and bravery,” said Gerrard.
“You are an inspiration to all of us mate.”
The 10-year-old, from Falkirk, faced battles to survive since birth but now has a new lease of life thanks to the world’s first ‘heart in a box’ transplant on a child.
Aaron was born with hypo-plastic left heart syndrome, meaning he had only half a heart. He underwent his first life-saving surgery just hours after he was born.
Rangers football manager Steven Gerrard sent a message to 10-year-old Child of Courage winner Aaron Hunter
(Image: PR Handout)
After further major surgery, an operation when he was three failed.
Aaron suffered a stroke that left him partially paralysed and in intensive care for five months.
Doctors said Aaron was unlikely to survive beyond another year, and even after he passed that milestone, fears remained that he would tragically be one of the 25% of children on the transplant waiting list who passed away before a suitable heart was found.
In 2018, he found one – but there was a difficult choice to make.
Aaron Hunter with his award
(Image: DAILY RECORD)
The organ had been kept pumping outside a human body in a pioneering ‘heart in a box’ procedure and Aaron would be the first child anywhere in the world to undergo a new type of transplant.
Thankfully, the surgery was a success, and the brave Aaron is thriving.
Dalglish said to Outstanding Bravery Award winner Gerard Morrison: “I know you are a Celtic supporter and although they weren’t champions last year in their mind and everyone else’s mind you are the champion this year.”
Morrison, 72 from Port Glasgow, is a pensioner who sprang into action during a violent knife attack, saving a woman’s life and fighting off her attacker in September 2019.
When the heroic Gerard was waiting in a housing association office in Greenock, one of the men waiting alongside him suddenly got up and approached the counter where staff member Lynn Robertson was tending to customers.
The attacker then walked behind the counter and without warning, stabbed the 45-year-old mother in the stomach and arm with a serrated steak knife.
Gerard immediately jumped up and went to Lynn’s aid, grabbing a chair to hit the attacker. His heroism allowed Lynn to flee behind a door into another office.
Once she was safe, Gerard threw the chair at the attacker and ran to seek help and the man was later arrested and was jailed for life last year for attempted murder.
Lynn had unfortunately sustained a deep wound to her arm and another to her body which penetrated her liver.
She underwent surgery and made a slow physical recovery but she remains permanently scarred as well as traumatised by the attack.
Sir Cliff Richard, Karen Gillan and Gordon Ramsey also presented the awards in an emotional ceremony, recognising heroes like Aaron Gerard.
The Daily Record Pride of Scotland Awards, in partnership with TSB, will be broadcast on STV (tonight/tomorrow) at 8pm and on STV Player on 28th July.