Pride of Britain 2022: The Ashford hospice worker who's walking 41 race courses for charity

  • Report by ITV Meridian's Joe Coshan

ITV Meridian East's latest nominee for the Pride of Britain Regional Fundraiser of the Year award is a hospice worker from Ashford in Kent.

Gary Kirton has spent more than half of his life raising money for great causes.

He's raised more than £300,000 over the last thirty years by organising everything from bingo nights to sports dinners.

But his latest challenge really needs him to stay the distance. He's travelling across the UK, to walk around 41 racecourses.

His passion for fundraising stepped up after a near-death experience.

Gary Kirton said: "The second chance of life I had in 2007 kicked it off again when I had three stents put in my main artery which was 95% blocked.

"It gave me a new lease of life and it kicked off fundraising again and the first big event was for the cardiac care unit who looked after me."

Gary's 41 race course challenge has already topped £10,000 for the Bob Champion Cancer Trust - named after the jockey who won the Grand National 41 years ago whilst he was recovering from the disease.

He added: "I was lucky at Cheltenham because I went to all four days of the festival but I wasn't able to walk the course so I went back a months time.

"To go back to Cheltenham with nobody on the race course it felt so surreal the weather was beautiful and to walk round that famous racecourse was just phenomenal.

"Another one I loved Goodwood, what a beautiful, pretty course."

  • ITV Meridian will reveal the regional winner on Friday 30th September in our 6pm programme.