PM Tells UK Armed Forces They Are The 'Finest In The World' At The Millies

Theresa May has praised the RAF personnel taking part in the fight against Daesh, as she awarded them the Sun Military Award for 'Hero Overseas: Unit'.

The Prime Minister presented the award to 10 RAF men and women for their part in Operation Shader.

The RAF is conducting its most intense flying mission in a single theatre for 25 years - dismantling ISIS from the skies.

RAF Tornado GR4's over Iraq on an armed reconnaissance mission in support of OP SHADER
An RAF Tornado on sortie

In the 12 months since September 2015, it has flown 5,500 sorties over Iraq and Syria, providing 40,000 hours of air surveillance and support and carrying out more than 1,000 strikes.

The 'Millies', meanwhile, are now in their ninth year. Wednesday's star-studded ceremony saw celebrities, entertainers and politicians celebrate the courage, hard work and dedication of the Armed Forces.

Host Lorraine Kelly was joined by celebrities from the worlds of sport, entertainment and politics including presenter Carol Vorderman, England rugby player James Haskell and award judges Jeremy Clarkson and Penny Lancaster, at the historic Guildhall in London.

Millies Nominees At Downing Street Reception

Earlier that day, the Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning and Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach hosted the nominees at a special reception at 10 Downing Street (above).

There were several new awards this year including Inspiring Others – honouring individuals who have motivated others to achieve more through their example – and the Innovation Award, which recognises firms or individuals that have developed game-changing or life-saving pieces of equipment that transform the work of the Armed Forces.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

"Over the past nine years, the Millies have enabled the British public to show their appreciation for the hard work and wide-ranging contributions commitment of our Armed Forces. Our Servicemen and women are an inspiration, achieving remarkable things across the world on a daily basis, and my congratulations and gratitude extends beyond the winners to all those serving the UK with such bravery and dedication."

Carol Vorderman presented an award to Sergeant Adam Threlfall, who provided vital first aid to two fellow parachutists who became entangled in an uncontrolled descent. Sgt Threlfall said:

"I was massively suprised to win. There was some really stiff competition in my field and across the whole Millies. It was great to be recognised and take the award back home to the team at Brize."

Best Reservist Lieutenant Ruairi Holohan was honoured for helping migrants rescued from the Mediterranean by HMS Bulwark. He spent five weeks using his French and Arabic language skills to communicate with the thousands saved and threw himself into caring for them in ways far beyond his expected duties. After receiving his award from Jeremy Clarkson, Lt Holohan said:

"It's an absolutely amazing feeling. I am taking credit on behalf of everyone in my unit who has been rescuing migrants in the Mediterrean."

Lorraine Kelly, meanwhile, said:

"It was such an uplifting evening, it really was truly truly inspirational.

"It's so good for us to get a chance to say thank you, as we don’t often get a chance to do that, and to say we really do appreciate everything you [Armed Forces] do for us."

More: The Winners Of This Year's Sun Military Awards