THE iconic image of a twoyear- old girl being pulled to safety from under tonnes of rubble caused by the Haiti earthquake was beamed across the world.

Today, the local heroes responsible for her rescue are officially the pride of their country — after being recognised at an awards ceremony celebrating the nation’s unsung heroes.

Firefighters Mick Dewar and Vic Kopicki, both from Kearsley, Martin Fisher, from Radcliffe, and former Farnworth-based Peter Stevenson were inspirational award winners in the Daily Mirror’s prestigious Pride of Britain Awards 2010.

Operations commander Mr Stevenson said: “We feel very privileged be representing the International Search and Rescue team at the awards.

“It was a complete surprise to find out we had been nominated. We do not seek to gain plaudits for what we do so it was a surprise, but we are very happy to receive the award.”

The four firefighters formed part of a nine-man crew making up the Manchester section of the British International Search and Rescue Team, who travelled to Haiti in January to help with the rescue effort in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake.

With the help of rescue dog Echo, they saved two-year-old Mia Charlet, who had been buried in rubble for three days.

The team spent hours inching through the debris, guided by Mia’s whimpers.

At the time Mr Kopicki said that “that one rescue alone made it worthwhile going”.

Now the team are hoping the award will remind the public that the Haitian people still require help months after the disaster.

Mr Stevenson said: “One million people are still displaced and have suffered again because of Hurricane Thomas.

“The people of Haiti are going to need help for many years to come. I hope this award keeps that in focus. The British public donated very generously when we were over there.”

The team also included Andy Roughley, Martin Foran, Dean Nankivell, Simon Cording and John Hughes, as well as rescue dog Echo.

The earthquake, which measured seven on the Richter scale, is thought to have killed an estimated 200,000 people.

Mia was pulled to safety from under the rubble of a collapsed kindergarten school in front of the world’s cameras.

Their heroic efforts earned the team a special recognition award at the ceremony, hosted last night by Carol Vorderman.

Some of the country’s biggest stars and VIPs, including Prince Charles, Prime Minister David Cameron, Sir Tom Jones and Simon Cowell honoured inspirational winners from all walks of life and of all ages, who were selected from thousands of nominations.

The awards ceremony took place at the Grosvenor House in London’s Park Lane and will be screened tomorrow on ITV1 at 8pm.