Tell us about your fundraising journey
I started in 1988. Back in the early days I would do race nights. I’ll have a recording of a horse race on film. People place bets and first one past the post wins. It’s a good fundraiser and I still do a lot of them.
I initially got into entertainment though hospital radio, and through helping with broadcasts for Radio Oxford. Now it doesn’t matter to me whether I stand in front of 2 people or 200 people, but I’m not sure quite how that happened. When I left school I was shy as anything. I didn’t want to speak to people. How I went from that to this I don’t know!
After I started the Race night’s people would contact me because they knew I did the events and it built from that quite rapidly. Over the years I’ve done a lot of shows, but often I organise them along with a community group rather than doing it all myself.
It’s got a lot more serious since 2010 which is when my wife died, and that’s how Sobell House came into it. I’ve contributed in small ways to lots of organisations over the years, but never worked out how much I’ve raised in total.
You’re hosting a Cabaret event in aid of Sobell House on the 20th October at Florence Park community centre. What can people expect on the night?
We’ve got two acts, a singing duo called The Summits and Paul Dumas. Paul is a fantastic artist. He does a lot of Television and is a very good singer and a ventriloquist. I’ve seen his show so many times and it still has me in stitches. The puppets are superb, they just come to life. We once had a woman who was sitting at the front of the show and she was convinced they were real!
When I run charity cabaret nights, I cover the costs so all the money goes to a good cause. It’s a good laugh, but a family show. It will be a great night.
Being awarded a British Citizen’s award is an incredible achievement. Can you tell us about the ceremony?
The ceremony was at the House of Lords. We were introduced, went for a glass of bubbly then were ushered in for high tea! I was first in the running order to go up. 250 people were nominated and 29 went through.
What motivates you to keep contributing to your community?
I do it because I enjoy meeting people. Lots of people come up to me after my shows and say thanks for a good night. And now a lot of the people who are at the events are friends. Race nights are a laugh; if it’s an older crowd we’ll tend to have them singing along and we make it an entertaining event. It’s all very good natured. When it becomes a chore I’ll stop.
You come back home after an event, you and the audience have had a good night, and you’ve raised a few bob for a good cause so you feel very content. Sometimes it may only be small amounts that we raise but I know it’s beneficial for the groups and charities I do it for.