On the 7th February, my wife and I were invited to attend an award ceremony in Belgrade, Serbia. This was to receive their humanitarian award for helping a Serbian national named Stefan Savic.
The day of the event started early, a television interview with a leading Serbian morning television show had been pre-arranged. The Serbian equivalent of Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid conducted the interview, but it must be said Good Morning Britain has no worries!
After the interview was concluded we were whisked off to attend the build up to the main event. This took place within the walls of their famous City Hall, a truly impressive, imposing building where after climbing several steps you have to pass between four magnificent stone pillars.
Again interviews with newspapers and television stations were conducted prior to the event taking place. Cara was shown to her chair amongst several VIP’s and at 12pm prompt the ceremony started. A traditional fanfare of music was played, after which each recipient was then introduced to the crowd, by playing a video for the reasons why they were to receive an award. There was 12 of us in total and I was informed that I was the first British Citizen to ever be nominated or receive anything. VIP’s included the assistant President of Serbia, several Serbian film stars and the British Military Attaché, who attended on behalf of the British Ambassador, and due to the fact when I first met Stefan I was a soldier stationed in Bosnia!
When my time came the video explaining my 13 years fundraising for Stefan was played, after which I was led through the crowd by two hosts. I felt humbled when both sides of the audience stood to applaud, then after shaking hands with the editor of their national paper and receiving my award I was shown my seat.
The whole event from start to finish lasted just over two hours, and at the end another set of interviews with both tabloid and television took place, followed by a four course meal for all who had been presented prizes and their families.
Although this was a whistle stop visit to Serbia the ceremony was truly remarkable, my wife and I had an amazing time and I feel extremely proud when told I am the first British Citizen to ever receive any such award, one which is displayed proudly in our home.