With support from The Prince's Trust, Mark started his own tree surgery business, employing people who were overcoming issues in their own lives. More recently, Mark has set up a charity - User Voice - supporting other former offenders.

Every year, the Pride of Britain Awards offer us a glimpse into the lives of seemingly ordinary people who, behind the scenes, are quietly putting the Great into Britain.

Their extraordinary courage and inspirational acts leave us profoundly humbled, lifting the spirits of a nation and reminding us of the lasting differences we can make to other people's lives.

In the 11 years since the Daily Mirror's Pride of Britain Awards was first broadcast on ITV1 into homes across the country, many have marvelled at how far beyond the call of duty others are prepared to go.

Their incredible stories make me extremely proud to be part of an occasion which recognises those previously unsung heroes who make our world a better place.

I am delighted to say that 2010 marks the 10th anniversary of The Prince's Trust Young Achiever of the Year award at the event and, needless to say, I am also very grateful to the celebrity supporters of my Trust who have presented the award over the years, including Stephen Fry, Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster, Victoria Beckham, Geri Halliwell, Kevin Spacey, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Niomi Daley (Ms Dynamite), Joely Richardson, Naomi Campbell and Mark Austin.

Every year, this award goes to a young person who has overcome a great many obstacles with help from the youth charity I set up 34 years ago, The Prince's Trust.

I find it wonderfully heartening that many of the young people I meet through my Trust have the unshakeable determination to better their lives, often against unimaginable odds.

For many, their personal journeys rarely end there. Rather, they develop into crusades to help others facing similar hardships. Their proven strength of character often means that, once on the right path, their capacity to give back is enormous.

Over the past 10 years I have been privileged to meet a range of inspiring winners of The Prince's Trust Young Achiever Award.

Last year, we witnessed Chris Saunders return home to a proud family with the award. Among those waiting for him was his baby son, Zac - the grandchild Chris's parents thought they'd never have.

For many years, they had seen their son hospitalised and imprisoned, ravaged by a £300-a-day heroin addiction. At the age of 26, Chris had 176 convictions to his name.

In prison, Chris was grateful for a chance to change his life for good.

Upon his release, he moved into Ovis Farm, a supported housing project for men.

With help from my Trust, Chris became committed to changing his own life and to helping others at the centre.

At Pride of Britain, even the judge who had jailed him went on stage to congratulate him not only on how he had managed to turn around his own life so successfully, but also gone on to make such a positive difference to other troubled young people.

Chris still works at Ovis Farm, helping young men overcome similar issues to his own. Today, he is helping to extend the centre's rehabilitation support to women.

Helping others has given Chris's life purpose and meaning. Like so many young people I meet through my Trust, this young man demonstrates why it is important to believe in young people - and Chris isn't alone in his success.

Every year, my Trust supports more than 40,000 disadvantaged young people who, like Chris, asked for help.

Many will have struggled at school or experienced long-term unemployment. Others will have been in trouble with the law or grown up in care.
Yet, in spite of such difficulties, more than three in four of them have moved into jobs, education or training. Their phenomenal successes speak volumes about the importance of second chances.

The Prince's Trust award at Pride of Britain recognises young people who have made the most of these second chances. Having faced issues such as homelessness, drug addiction and depression, they have not only turned their own lives around, but are now giving back to those around them. Four years ago, a much-deserved round of applause filled the room for Samantha Block, a young lady whom I had the great pleasure of meeting personally.
Samantha grew up in 20 different care homes.

Confused and angry, her education suffered and she left school at 15 years of age. With support from The Prince's Trust Team programme, Samantha began to overcome her obstacles and get her life back on track.

She later gained enough confidence to speak out on behalf of many others, addressing influential people about issues that really matter to those growing up in care.

Since winning her award, Samantha has worked hard to gain new qualifications and is pursuing a career in care work. In her spare time, she acts as an adviser to the General Social Care Council.

Another winner who has impressed me over the years is Mark Johnson, who took home The Prince's Trust Young Achiever of the Year award in 2005.

For 15 years he had been, seemingly hopelessly, trapped in a vicious cycle of drug addiction, crime and homelessness.

With support from The Prince's Trust, Mark started his own tree surgery business, employing people who were overcoming issues in their own lives. More recently, Mark has set up a charity - User Voice - supporting other former offenders.

It is so very important to recognise success when we see it, especially in those who have battled harder than most to achieve it.
All too often, it is those who have strived hardest to achieve success against the odds who are in the strongest position to help others do the same.

The Prince's Trust Young Achiever of the Year category serves as a sad reminder to us all of exactly how far a young person's life can spiral out of control.
Serious challenges such as abuse, homelessness, unemployment and estrangement from one's family can lead many young people down a well-trodden path to a life of underachievement and crime.

The award also reminds us that, with a second chance from an organisation like The Prince's Trust, these very same individuals can transform their lives for good.

Our award winners show that, with the right support and guidance from people who really care, young people can escape a life of disappointment to inspire many others to follow in their footsteps.