Road repairer nominated for Pride of Britain after alter ego Zhandra raises thousands for charity

A man from Nottinghamshire who has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities through his alter ego - Zhandra has been nominated for a Pride of Britain award.

Mark Preston from Giltbrook has been fundraising for more than 22 years on stage at pubs and clubs.

By day he works as a road repairer for Nottingham City Council, where colleagues have praised his efforts.

"He does a lot of good for a lot of good causes" said co-worker, Peter Spencer.

"He's got a good troop that support him and everything but he's the driving cause and he raises a lot of money for a lot of good causes"

So far, Mr Preston has raised more than £350,000 for charities, with more than £14,000 this year alone.

Speaking to ITV Central about where it all began, Mr Preston said: "I just like helping people and I like to get to give them the money.

"I think if I can make one person happy, I think it's worthwhile doing it."

"By being Zhandra, I don't know what it is, but people seem to want to see her."

The charity fundraiser was nominated by his friend Ruth, founder of 'Danielle's Flutterbyes', a charity started in memory of her daughter Danielle Stretton, who died from kidney failure in 2014, aged just 24.

The charity helps young people aged 18-30 suffering from the kidney disease.

Through fundraising and donations they fund holidays, days out and equipment to help "make life more bearable for those undergoing life-saving treatment.

Mr Preston began fundraising for the charity for the last two years.

Founder Ruth Braddock said: "Kidney disease is a silent killer and my heart and my soul wants to raise awareness of this.

"I don't want other children, other youngsters to go through what Danielle went through".

Mark's alter ego, Zhandra has been a hit in the community and helped him raise thousands for charity Credit: ITV Central

Describing Mr Preston's fundraising for the charity during the pandemic, she explains: "He was heaven sent".

"He has helped us since. He is such a wonderful guy and the only thing he has ever asked me for, was a thank-you note."

But there's been plenty of challenges along the way, with Mark describing how difficult it was at first to get to grips with heels.

He said: "I was all over the place, falling over.

"It took me ages to get the hang of it. It's alright walking in them, but then you've got to dance in them as well - and it's even harder."

Mr Peston has no plans to hang up his heels just yet, and will be performing for charity at the Nottingham Beer Festival.