David Beckham praised British servicemen and women at The Sun newspaper's Military Awards last night (10.12.14).

The 39-year-old star presented the Hero Abroad Award to the crew of HMS Illustrious to celebrate the warship's decommissioning after more than three decades of service.

Speaking at the ceremony, he said: ''It is truly humbling to be here tonight. It's a true honour to give this award.''

The former footballer handed the gong to the ship's first skipper, Admiral Sir Jock Slater, and its last, Captain Mike Utley, who both provided help to nations around the world, with the ship most recently working in the Philippines last Christmas following typhoon Haiyan.

As part of a tribute to the ship - nicknamed Old Lusty - 'Unbroken' director Angelina Jolie also sent a video message in which she thanked the 1,000-strong crew for risking their lives for the greater good of others.

Elsewhere at the ceremony, music mogul Simon Cowell, 55, said the work of British servicemen abroad made him proud to hail from the nation.

He said: ''It is humbling and it puts what we do into perspective. You're feet away from people who have risked their lives. It makes me proud to be British.''

Other attendees at the ceremony included Prince Charles, musician Rod Stewart, 'Homeland' actor Damian Lewis and singer Alesha Dixon.