Pride of Britain: Redcar man raises over £50,000 for GNAAS in brother's memory

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A fundraiser who has raised over £50,000 for charity through a festival organised in memory of his late brother has been nominated for a Pride of Britain award.

Tom Heath, from Redcar, began fundraising for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) after his brother Matthew died in a motorbike crash in July 2008.

His fundraising efforts first started with a football tournament, the Matthew Heath Memorial Trophy, in 2009 and it has now grown into a festival of music and football called Progression.

All the money goes to charity and Mr Heath has now been nominated for the ITV Tyne Tees Fundraiser of the Year Award - part of the Pride of Britain awards.

Tom Heath has been nominated for a Pride of Britain award for his charity work. Credit: Handout

"I was absolutely gobsmacked, to be honest," Mr Heath said. "I didn't expect it at all.

"When I got the phone call I was like 'what?' I just couldn't believe it. I'm still shell-shocked now."

Mr Heath's fundraising efforts have all been to say thank you to the GNAAS for rushing to save his brother's life even though his injuries were too severe.

"Matthew was a happy go lucky lad," he said. "He was always with all of us as a group of mates, enjoying life. He loved his motorbikes, loved his family. It was just so tragic. It broke all our hearts."

The money Mr Heath has raised has helped several families across the region with the costs associated with air ambulance callouts.

Tom Heath's charity work has been in memory of his brother Matthew who died in a motorbike accident in 2008. Credit: Family

"The work that Tom has done for the GNAAS in memory of Matthew is so amazing," Sophie Snowdon from the service said. "For the almost £54,000 that Tom has raised it's a massive, massive achievement.

"It's about £5,000 per callout so there's 10 families, 10 sets of friends, 10 people that Tom has potentially helped to save a life."

Mr Heath's nominator Gareth Brotton added: "I nominated Tom for his pure dedication in raising money for the charity. Everything he does, he gives 100%.

"He's going from doing a 12-hour shift from work straight to organising music events. Every spare minute of his day was with the family organising all these events.

"Sometimes he brings me to tears with all the work he's done for charity."

The Pride of Britain awards ceremony will take place later this year.

What is Pride of Britain?

The Pride of Britain Awards celebrate the achievements of truly remarkable people who make our world a better place.

Nominated by the public, the winners are from all walks of life, of all ages, and from all over the country. Their achievements are awe-inspiring and a lesson to us all. They say they are ordinary people, but their acts are truly extraordinary.

Since the first Pride of Britain in 1999, royalty, prime ministers, and hundreds of leading figures from showbiz, sport, politics and the arts have all taken part.

Hosted by Carol Vorderman, the Awards attract an audience of around five million viewers every year in a primetime slot on ITV - making it the highest-rated awards show of its kind on British television.

The winner of the Fundraiser of the Year award for the ITV Tyne Tees region will be announced during the evening programme on Friday 15 September.

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