Pride of Britain nominee Peter Dutch speaks to ITV News Anglia's Callum Fairhurst
A man whose online community group became a full-time movement to support vulnerable people in his community has been nominated for a Pride of Britain Award.
Peter Dutch created the Colchester Anti-Loo Roll Brigade to help people through the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Dutch said: "I basically set up a silly named Facebook group called Colchester Anti-Loo Roll Brigade as a knee jerk reaction to watching videos of people grabbing and panic buying toilet rolls at the beginning of the pandemic.
"We just grew and grew and grew, and as we grew we started to go into more areas and provided more and more help.
"As we grew we became less Covid-related and more just about helping those in need."
From concerts at care homes to giving out hot meals to health workers, the Colchester Anti-Loo Roll Brigade has expanded rapidly.
It also runs a fuel poverty scheme and send truckloads of supplies to Ukraine.
The group has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to support its work through events such as the Colchester Anti-Loo Roll Festival which attracted thousands of festival-goers.
"It's just about trying to help and improve the lives of as many people as possible," said Mr Dutch.
"I've just been on this crazy, surreal, little journey the last couple of years. Just the fact that I'm sat here, talking to you about being nominated for a Pride of Britain is a really surreal moment in my new weird life where children point at me in the street and say 'there's the loo roll man!'"
One of the organisations Mr Dutch supports is the domestic abuse charity Next Chapter.
Nikki Taylor, from Next Chapter, said: "Peter Dutch is instrumental in supporting our clients.
"Through his amazing character and personality and heart, his warmth and his complete utter lust for life, people are drawn to Peter.
"It enables them to share opportunities to help people and then he acts as a real facilitator and passes those on to the likes of our charity."
Peter Dutch is one of eight nominees from ITV News Anglia in the fundraiser of the year category at the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, with a winner to be selected for the East and the West of the region.
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