Pride of Britain Awards: Meet the South West finalists - Neil Thomas

  • Watch Claire Manning's report on Pride of Britain finalist Neil Thomas


Each year, ITV News regions across the UK search for a local Fundraiser of the Year as part of the national Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards.

The winners for 2020 from each ITV region will be celebrated in a star-studded primetime special on ITV in the autumn.

Here in the West Country, four finalists have now been selected from the many nominations we received for the South West of the region.


Neil Thomas

Neil made lots of friends who helped him out along his route from London to Torquay. Credit: Neil Thomas

Neil Thomas walked around 200 miles from Big Ben in London to Torquay's Clocktower over eight days, raising £28,000. He called it "Big Ben to Little Ben" and set off with nothing, instead relying purely on the kindness of strangers to feed him and give him a bed for the night.

I wanted to make it as hard as possible, as challenging as it could possibly be... I thought what if it cost me more to do the challenge than I could actually raised, so lucky enough as you know, I've actually maxed it, the target a few times over.

Neil Thomas

Neil did what was effectively seven marathons in seven days and he did it for Rowcroft Hospice in Torquay, which cared for his father in 1997 and has supported family and friends over the years.

Vicky Bartlett from Rowcroft Hospice says "I think what Neil did was a mammoth task. I cannot even contemplate leaving London, walking, let alone not having any money. I think actually just the thought of it would just freak me out and I think to do it in this present climate is amazing."

Neil says he has even bigger fundraising plans for the future.


Find out who won our region's Fundraiser of the Year award: