The Duke of Cambridge has hailed emergency services heroes who “run straight towards the danger” to save the lives of others.

Speaking at the Who Care Wins awards, hosted by the Sun, William praised the first responders who “rise to the occasion” when others would “quite naturally, turn away and seek safety”.

The duke, himself a former air ambulance pilot, appeared at the awards ceremony at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London, where he met a number of nominees.

In a speech, he said: “Every day our emergency services deal with high-pressured, challenging situations.

“When most of us would, quite naturally, turn away and seek safety, our emergency responders rise to the occasion – running straight towards the danger to provide vital and often life-saving support.

The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Awards
The Duke of Cambridge meets guests at the Who Cares Wins Awards (Yui Mok/PA)

“Very modestly, they will tell you that this does not make them heroes and it is all done in the name of duty.

“But sometimes a situation will occur that tests the resolve of even the most experienced responder.”

The duke continued: “In times like these, they must face their deepest fears and find the most astonishing level of courage to overcome the obstacles in front of them. And that is truly heroic.

“The winners of this award faced just such a situation, but I am delighted to say they survived and are here this evening.”

The evening was presented by Davina McCall and Prime Minister Boris Johnson and footballer David Beckham were among the guests.

David Beckham and his mother Sandra
David Beckham and his mother Sandra were among the guests (Yui Mok/PA)

Also present were Piers Morgan, Kate Garraway, James Blunt, Vernon Kay, Tyrone Mings, Sir Trevor McDonald, Gary Lineker and Sir Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster.

William presented the “999 heroes” award to Deena Evans and Michael Hipgrave, who were stabbed on duty as paramedics during a routine call-out.

Ms Evans, a 40-year-old mother-of-three, was stabbed twice in the chest, before Mr Hipgrave – who stepped forward to protect her – was stabbed in the back.

Both have now returned to work on the front line while their attacker has been jailed for nine years after admitting two charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.