Royal Docks’ Ray is ‘Pride of Britain’

Ray Coe is pictured wth Jimmy Carr and gymnast Louis Smith at the Pride of Britain awards

Ray Coe is pictured wth Jimmy Carr and gymnast Louis Smith at the Pride of Britain awards - Credit: Archant

A teacher who was hailed a hero for donating a kidney to a sick student has been presented with a Pride of Britain award in recognition of his selfless act.

Ray Coe, 53, who works at Royal Docks Community School in Custom House, was named Teacher of the Year at the annual awards ceremony.

The glittering ceremony, held in central London last week, recognises ordinary people who have gone beyond the call of duty.

Ray donated his kidney to Alya Ahmed Ali, 13, earlier this year to help save the teenager’s life. Yet the humble man admitted it still a mystery why his story has touched so many lives.

“I met people there [at the event] that have given up their time and done so much,” he said. “I still can’t understand why [donating a kidney] is such a big thing, it’s still lost on me.

“It was so surreal, just to be part of the event and to have the honour of working with everybody.”

Ray even picked up a celebrity admirer.

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“When my award was finished, John Bishop asked if he could come back to my table and have a picture taken with me,” he said.

“It was after the event that I realised that actually there’s not many people that have got this award. It’s all about other people’s gratitude and many people have taken the time to say “thank you” to me.”

Ray said he was particularly touched that someone he did not even know had taken the trouble to send him a huge box of chocolates.

He joined Carol Vorderman on stage where he was presented with his award by comedians John Bishop and Jimmy Carr.

Ray played down his actions, saying it had been the right thing to do.

Special needs co-ordinator Ray was hailed a hero in April by Alya’s father Ahmed Ali who said he was an “amazing man”.

Alya underwent the kidney transplant in February, is back at school and hopes to work at Great Ormond Street Hospital where she was treated.

The awards are nominated by the public and the winners are from all walks of life, of all ages and all over the country.