Leicester dad who helped raise £75k for children's school nominated for Pride of Britain award

Dipak Patel tells ITV Central's Rosie Dowsing how he has raised thousands with the PTFA charity at his children's school.

A Dad from Leicester who raised more than £75,000 for his children’s school through bake sales, raffles and securing grants, has been nominated for a Pride of Britain award.

Dipak Patel, who lives in Hamilton, started fundraising for Avanti Fields School when it first opened five years ago. 

He is a trustee of the school’s Parents, Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA), which is a registered charity. 

Together with his team of parents and teachers, Dipak’s fundraised for projects big and small, from a defibrillator to a well-stocked library and ambitious community garden project. 

Bake sales have become second nature to Dipak, who helps with around four or five of them a year, each with around 1,000 items on sale.

“We’ve got a group of people, they all come round to muck in. 

“We almost have a production line going, there’s late nights, and then we’re in school the following day selling items. 

“If you can imagine 800/900 kids wanting cakes - it gets manic.”

Step into Avanti Fields School, and the impact of Dipak’s fundraising with the PTFA is clear to see.

There is a plot of land that has been transformed into a community garden, not just for pupils to grow produce and have a quiet outdoor space to learn, but for the wider community too.

Dipak raised over £40,000 through grants and fundraising with the PTFA at Avanti Fields School. Credit: ITV Central

Dipak secured two grants and together with fundraising initiative like bake sales, raised over £40,000 for this space.

He said: "It can be used as an outdoor classroom, a quiet space if pupils just need a bit of time out, it’s really nice and peaceful here.

"When we get the produce we are going to donate some to the local food bank, we’ve got an old people’s residential block just opposite us, we’ll be handing out some parcels there.

"There is a a care home nearby and a local scout group that can have access to the garden too.

"The education is important but the other values of being good citizens in the wider community is something we teach pupils in the school, and this project helps that."

Dipak also helped fundraise for the school's library, which is now brimming with books.

Vanessa Bardsley, principal of Avanti Fields School, says Dipak has had a big impact.

She said: "He has supported the school in its growth and development, but particularly with some key fundraising for the school and some very good initiatives to get our students involved in the wider community.

"I'm absolutely in awe. I do not know how he finds the time."

Back home, and the whole family get behind the school fundraising, often baking together in their spare time.

Dipak's daughters Tanisha and Meisha say having their dad so involved in their school is inspiring.

Tanisha said: "It makes us proud to see him giving back to the community."

Dipak has been nominated for the Pride of Britain Regional Fundraiser of the Year award for his efforts.

It's an award sponsored by ITV regions, and the winner will be invited to the national Pride of Britain ceremony in London later this year.