Animal lovers and TV stars gathered to celebrate the Animal Hero Awards in London last night.
As a special surprise for guests, Actor Ricky Gervais also arrived to accept an award presented by Dr Brian May for Outstanding Contribution to Animal Welfare.
Ricky received his standing ovation as he collected his award. He praised RSPCA inspectors, saying: “Those people are amazing, they are an emergency service, they are fantastic.”
Ricky added: “I think it is one of the greatest privileges of freedom of speech, to use your voice for those who don’t have one.
Animals praised including a Staffordshire bull terrier found stray and rescued by the RSPCA who went on to become a trained police sniffer dog also won awards on the night. The Staffy, Stella, won Public Service Animal of the Year for her role in finding cash, drugs and guns for Gloucester Police.
Speaking at the ceremony RSPCA interim chief executive David Canavan said: “I was honoured to hear all the animal heroes’ stories.
“Having an event dedicated to the positive power of animals really shows the impact they have on our lives and highlights the wonderful work of the people who help and heal them.”