Paula honoured with Pride of Britain award after bringing ice bucket challenge to UK

Fundraiser of the Year Paula Maguire. Picture credit Daily Mirror/ITV

Fundraiser of the Year Paula Maguire. Picture credit Daily Mirror/ITV

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The woman responsible for raising £4m for the Motor Neurone Disease Association through the biggest social media craze of 2014 has been honoured with a national Pride of Britain award.

Paula Maguire and husband Robert brought the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ to the UK, when they set up the craze’s official justgiving page and text donation number.

She was one of the first in the country to pour a bucket of ice-cold water over her head to raise funds for the charity, which she has supported since 2009 when her uncle Stuart Hughes died from the disease.

She posted a video of the challenge on social media, which went viral.

Paula, 41, of Ryhill, has now been crowned national ITV fundraiser of the year in the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards.

She said: “The awards ceremony was the most amazing night of my life, from walking down the red carpet to meeting the other inspirational winners.

“Ours was the only award where all the regional winners were invited down, with the national winner to be announced on the night.

“I’m still completely gobsmacked that I won. It was overwhelming. I really didn’t expect it.

“When I stop and think how much was raised I do think wow, but other times I think, well I didn’t do anything.”

Paula told The Mirror: “I don’t do this for me, I don’t do this for awards I do it to help all those people who are living with motor neurone disease.

“This award is for all of them and for those not here anymore.

“I was thinking about my uncle while on stage. I did get a bit emotional.”

Paula was nominated by ITV regional news viewers and selected as the Yorkshire North regional winner.

She was invited to the national awards ceremony on Monday, where judges chose her as the overall nationwide winner of her category.

The Pride of Britain Awards will be aired on ITV at 8pm this evening.