The funnyman presented the Overcoming Adversity award to Royal Marine hero Captain Si Maxwell, who lost his leg during combat in Afghanistan, at the The Sun newspaper’s annual Military Awards – and Gervais was overcome with emotion during the prizegiving, which recognises the contributions of troops.
He says, “I was crying after the first one. I didn’t think I was going to sit at the table and blub (cry), but it was so humbling for me. I wasn’t ready for what a wimp I was. I cried immediately, I was a wreck. I’m dehydrated from crying.”
In a post on his Twitter.com page after the event, Gervais added, “Possibly the most humbling, moving, yet fun and uplifting event of my life. An honour.”
Kevin Spacey, supermodel Elle Macpherson and veteran British actor Sir David Jason were also among the presenters at the ceremony, which was attended by stars including Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne and singer-turned-TV presenter Myleene Klass.
British royal Charles, Prince of Wales was also at the prizegiving, and he admitted he feared for the safety of his sons, Princes William and Harry, when they are serving in war zones.
He says, “I really do understand the worry of service families when their loved ones are away serving in somewhere like Afghanistan. It’s almost easier for those serving away than for those left behind because you worry all the time.
“So I do appreciate the extraordinary resilience and the unbelievable support provided by the families back here who encourage and remind their loved ones that they are there for them, despite what they are having to put up with.”
Prince Harry is currently in Afghanistan working as an Apache helicopter co-pilot, while Prince William serves as an RAF search and rescue helicopter captain.