David Cameron has praised the “vital role” local press plays in society through campaigning for change and holding politicians to account.

Lending his backing to the Birmingham Mail’s Pride of Birmingham Awards this week, the Prime Minister highlighted the ability of local newspapers to shine a spotlight on people who achieve great things in their communities.

The Prime Minister said: “Like the hundreds of local newspapers in Britain, the Mail plays a vital role in our society: keeping communities up to date, campaigning for change and holding people like me to account.

“Also, as we see from the stories of the nominees, bringing to light the stories of amazing people who deserve to be recognised.”

He added: “Birmingham has always been a city of greats and the inaugural Pride of Birmingham awards are about celebrating some of them – the unsung heroes who have made a huge difference, against the odds,” he said.

“One word springs to mind when I look at the nominees – courage.

“The courage of soldiers who have put their lives on the line. The courage of children who have faced serious illness. And the courage of those ordinary people who – in the toughest of circumstances – have done extraordinary things.

“I also want to pay tribute to the Birmingham Mail for putting this event.

The Pride of Birmingham Awards, organised by the Mail in association with Virgin Trains, will celebrate people who make a difference and their achievements.

Eight hundred people are expected to attend the glittering awards ceremony in Birmingham Town Hall on Friday 26 September.