THE Co-operative Group is to be the sole sponsor of the Daily Mirror's 'Pride of Britain Awards', the biggest national TV awards show of its kind with nearly eight million viewers last year.
The two-year sponsorship agreement brings together The Co-operative, the UK's most ethical brand according to a survey produced by GfK NOP last month, and the Daily Mirror newspaper, which shares the visions and values that embody the Pride of Britain Awards.
As part of the agreement, The Co-operative Local Champion Award will be amongst the awards presented at the event at the end of September.
The Group will be promoting the Pride of Britain Awards across its family of businesses, including its travel division, pharmacies, funeral services and financial services.
Carol Vorderman is fronting posters in an in-store campaign and nomination forms and boxes will be made available in more than 4,000 Co-op Group trading outlets nationwide. The campaign will also be backed by TV advertisements. The link-up will also be promoted across the Group's 85, 000 employees and its 2.5 million customer members.
The Pride of Britain Awards receive widespread media coverage, with media partners including the Daily Mirror, ITV network, GMTV (who devote two weeks of coverage) and ITV Regions.
HRH Prince Charles has presented the Prince's Trust Young Achiever Award for the past eight years and the Prime Minister has always attended since the event started in 1999.
Hosted by Carol Vorderman, scores of famous celebrities have taken part including Sir Paul McCartney, Dame Helen Mirren, David and Victoria Beckham, President Clinton, Bono, J K Rowling, Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams, Jude Law, Take That, Ewan McGregor, Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas.
Co-operative Group Chief Executive Peter Marks commented: "We have a brand that has community at its core, making us a natural partner and a perfect match for the Pride of Britain Awards.
"Everyone who is nominated is doing their bit to make their community and our country a better place to live in and they, and the ultimate awards winners in particular, deserve our support and recognition. They are an inspiration to us all through their dedication, devotion and commitment."
The Daily Mirror's Associate Editor Peter Willis, who founded and is in charge of the awards scheme, said: "We are delighted the Co-operative will be partnering us for our very special tenth anniversary.
"They are the perfect sponsor because not only do they share the same core values as the Daily Mirror and Pride of Britain, but they have a fantastic understanding, enthusiasm and pro-active commitment to the awards."