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What it means to be a hero these days – Having a phone charger will do it

Fireman Sam

Fireman Sam (Image: Mattel)

In a tech-obsessed world, even the modest job of setting up a smartphone is considered gallant, as is fetching an item on the top shelf of a supermarket for someone who can’t reach. The study for children’s TV programme Fireman Sam, to launch their new Modern-Day Heroes Campaign, also found that 36 percent have changed their views on what defines a hero due to the events of 2020.

Determination, honesty and integrity are now among the top attributes – with only seven percent now considering physical strength to be a characteristic of a modern hero.

Helen Genia, from Mattel, which commissioned the research, said: “There’s no doubt there has been a shift in what is considered a hero, never more so than this year.

“Children will grow up in this era not just thinking about the traditional superheroes as the ones to look up to, but many of those in services such as the NHS that serve us so well.

“Not only that, there’s clearly more of an appreciation for the ‘everyday hero’ working hard without a pat on the back each and every day from supermarkets to home deliveries.”

The study also revealed nurses, doctors and the fire brigade are the most heroic jobs of the modern age with these roles proving most courageous in recent months.

More than a third (34 percent) also tipped their cap to supermarket workers and 28 percent said delivery drivers have put in valiant efforts.

And 22 percent consider waste collection teams to be heroes while 25 percent said the same of the fire brigade.

But 72 percent think we need to celebrate the heroic things people do more, with 53 percent believing people aren’t thanked enough for what they do in today’s society.

As a result, six in 10 adults ensure they thank people every time they’re helped out.

Almost (18 percent) believe they have been seen as someone’s hero in recent months, and half feel they are more inclined to help people out they don’t know now more than ever.

It also emerged being helpful, having a moral compass and being selfless were traits adults would most like to instil in children from a young age.

And 74 percent of those polled believe it’s important for children to see a diverse range of heroic role models in the television shows they watch.

Helen Genia, from Mattel, added: “It’s clear those who put themselves on the frontline don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

“As a result, to show our appreciation, we are proud to launch our Modern-Day Heroes Campaign, to help raise vital funds for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) while also shining a spotlight on the friends, family members and frontline workers who have gone above and beyond to help others in a tough year.”

As part of the campaign, Fireman Sam will donate £1 to the DEC Coronavirus Appeal for every picture drawn by children of their modern-day hero that is posted on social media using the hashtag #FindTheHero.

Saleh Saeed, Disasters Emergency Committee CEO, said: “We are proud to be working with Fireman Sam Modern-Day Heroes Campaign to honour the importance of frontline heroes, key workers and communities.

“On behalf of the DEC and our member charities, I would like to say a big thank you for your generous support of the DEC’s Coronavirus Appeal and helping to highlight the importance of frontline medical and aid workers who are supporting people living in the world’s most fragile places as they face COVID-19”.

Top 10 everyday heroic moments

1. Helping someone with first aid

2. Directing traffic following an accident

3. Helping someone with a flat tyre

4. Helping to jump start a car for someone

5. Giving someone a lift

6. Reaching for the top shelf in a supermarket to get something down

7. Lending someone money

8. Helping someone set up tech items, smartphones, use video calling etc.

9. Picking up a treat on the way home to lift your partner’s spirits

10. Having a spare mask for a friend


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