Gosport volunteer wins charity award ahead of Dame Esther for raising millions

Les Heyhoe from Gosport, winner of the Outstanding Individual Achievement award at the Charity Times Awards ''''Picture: Sarah Standing (151604-6646)
Les Heyhoe from Gosport, winner of the Outstanding Individual Achievement award at the Charity Times Awards ''''Picture: Sarah Standing (151604-6646)
The boardwalks at Port Solent this evening, as visitors enjoyed the Festival of Christmas

Festival of Christmas draws hundreds of shoppers and traders to Port Solent

  • Volunteer Les Heyhoe, from Gosport, was named winner of the Outstanding Individual Achievement award at the Charity Times Awards
  • He was up against Dame Esther Rantzen and three other volunteers
  • He said he never expected to win and was stunned when his name was called
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HE HAS raised more than £10m for charity, giving up his free time to help others.

And now Les Heyhoe has been thanked for his dedication after winning the Outstanding Individual Achievement award at the Charity Times Awards.

The 58-year-old was up against Dame Esther Rantzen and three other volunteers at the awards in London and was surprised when he was named the winner.

Les, from Gosport, said: ‘I was stunned to say the least.

‘I was quite amazed because the people I was up against were great contenders.

‘I really didn’t think I stood a chance, but then we weren’t sure what the judges were after.

Les Heyhoe on stage with comedian Lucy Porter who presented his award

Les Heyhoe on stage with comedian Lucy Porter who presented his award

‘It’s amazing to have won and it was definitely a shock.’

As well as Dame Esther, the founder and president of The Silver Line Helpline and Childline, Les was also against Dame Hilary Blume, director of Knit for Peace, Ken Dullaway, a co-ordinator for StreetGames, and volunteer Mohammad Saddique, from Victim Support.

It was Les’s hard work for charities in Gosport and Fareham that led to his nomination from organisation Kids.

He added: ‘It was great to represent Kids and its director sent me a message wishing me luck, which was nice.

I was quite amazed because the people I was up against were great contenders.

Les Heyhoe

‘Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage also got in touch to say good luck, which was lovely.’

Les has been fundraising since he was 16 and has raised more than £10m. But reaching that target has not deterred him from future charity events.

In fact, he held one last month at HMS Sultan in Gosport, raising £2,700.

‘I definitely want to keep fundraising in the future,’ he said.

‘I’m already planning one for later this month so I’m sure I’ll add to the total I’ve raised already. It’s just something I enjoy doing and the more you do, the more experienced you get.’