HAPPY Les Heyhoe was left as proud as punch after receiving a British Citizen Award for raising millions of pounds for charity in the past 40 years.
The 60-year-old has taken part in hundreds of fundraising activities down the years, including charity bike rides and hosting race nights and his hard work has now been rewarded.
I am extremely humbled to be one of few people in the country to receive oneLes Heyhoe
Les, a former Royal Navy Writer who lives in Gosport, believes he has reached the £12m mark – he stopped keeping track of the total after hitting £10m in 2000.
He’s been raising cash since he was aged 16 in Norfolk.
His first fundraising scheme was collecting aluminium ring pulls from drink cans for scrap metal.
Les said he loved the feeling of helping out those who needed it most and has continued to do so since then.
British Citizen Awards recognise the outstanding work individuals do in the community and the impact they have on society.
He will be commended at a presentation in the Palace of Westminster later this month, which will be hosted by The Lord Dholakia, Baron Navnit Dholakia. Les will be able to put BCAv at the end of his name to mark his accolade.
Les, who’s dubbed ‘the man of many millions, told The News: ‘I did not think in a million years I would win this award.
‘I have always done everything on a voluntary basis and every single penny I have raised can be accounted for.
‘I am extremely humbled to be one of few people in the country to receive one.’
Les said he had to get the right balance between work and charity life and used to spend lunch hours on the phone whilst working in the finance and insurance business after coming out of the forces.
He is also grateful for the work his children Laura and Marc, as well as wife, Lyn, have done over the years to help his cause
Mr Heyhoe added: ‘The kids used to be folding up raffle tickets whilst Lyn has looked after the money.
‘Mark now lives in America. He came back for my 60th and was helping me out at a race night!’
In all of his charity events, there is one that sticks out in Les’s mind.
‘I did a charity bike ride from Buckingham Palace to Cardiff Castle.
‘The 255-mile cycle was extremely hard work and I will always remember it.
‘The most money I’ve earned from an event was my abseil down Norwich House in Southampton, which was £350,000.
‘My motto along the way has always been to have fun and the fundraising will follow.’