Quizmaster Les stays in charge, 3,000 miles away in Saudia Arabia

JUBAIL CALLING Paul Gray, the landlord of the Fox Tavern speaks to Les Heyhoe online for the pub quiz. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (133279-2)
JUBAIL CALLING Paul Gray, the landlord of the Fox Tavern speaks to Les Heyhoe online for the pub quiz. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (133279-2)

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DEDICATED Les Heyhoe couldn’t bear the thought of giving up his role as quizmaster at his local pub when he got a job in Saudi Arabia.

Working 3,000 miles away from Gosport has not put off the 57-year-old BAE Systems admin worker – as he is now projected on a screen via Skype each fortnight at The Fox Tavern, in North Street.

Les, who has raised around £10m for charity over 40 years, said he couldn’t abandon his chosen good causes.

Speaking from Saudi Arabia, he said: ‘I didn’t want to lose or miss the opportunity to continue my fundraising activities.

‘I’ve got the people at this end to join in so I’ve got quite a good momentum.

‘When I came over here I did it from my villa to begin with and then I suggested it to the people around here and they’re taking part now.

‘I’m projected on the TV screen and ask the questions, which goes around the pub.’

His quirky quiz delivery started after landlord Paul Gray and his wife Charlie suggested he use Skype after leaving his job at HMS Sultan.

But it means extra competition for the locals in Gosport as they are now up against BAE workers from the King Faisal Naval Base, Jubail.

Les added: ‘They jokingly said when I left: “Oh, you’ll have to continue doing the quiz via Skype”.

‘I gave myself a fortnight while I was out here to try find out the lie of the land.

‘We have a social club here, obviously we can’t drink but we can congregate on the Thursday and Friday night.

‘So I said: “How about we make it a little bit more interesting?”

‘The first week, because it was word of mouth, I had just one team and then a few weeks ago it was standing room only.’

All of the cash raised goes to Help for Heroes.

Landlord Paul added: ‘I was out in Saudia Arabia myself for 10 years and that’s how I used to keep in touch with my family, with Skype.

‘I do the quiz one week and Les does it the other week.

‘It gives him a chance to get some sleep as they’re a few hours in front of us.

‘All the regulars get to see him on the big screen.

‘It hasn’t brought in any extra people playing the quiz but the ones do attend think it’s a little bit novel.’

But the long-distance arrangement isn’t without problems, explains Paul.

‘We had some technical difficulties for the first couple of weeks,’ he said.

‘It’s been good – apart from one week he was flooded out, I went to call him at 8.30pm, I’d been talking to him at 8pm, but by 8.30pm they’d lost all their internet.

‘It isn’t without it’s problems – but Saudia Arabia flooding is pretty rare.’