Pride of Britain 2021: Meet the West Regional Fundraiser of the Year finalist Jack Littlejohns

  • Watch Bob Cruwys' report

Every year, ITV West Country searches for a Regional Fundraiser of the Year as part of the national Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Award.

One of this year's shortlisted nominees is Jack Littlejohns from Barnstaple Ability Football club.

He was bullied at school because of his learning disability but now he is a community hero, giving up a lot of his time to raise money for the team and other local charities.

However, he says the club has helped him just as much as he's helped it. "People may think that football is just football but, for me, it's more than that," he explained.

Jack says playing football has helped him improve his everyday life. Credit: ITV News

"It's more the fact that playing sport gives you, not just the fitness level, but it gives you the confidence, improves your self-esteem and it also improves your everyday life with your family and friends.

"We've always been striving since day one that we give each disabled person the opportunity to come along, to play football, to have fun, which is the main key thing.

"It's helping these guys and everybody else at the club to reach that next level of being able to have that confidence day in and day out."

Jack is a vital part of what keeps the club going and growing with his leadership and fundraising and those sentiments are not lost on those around him.

Jack Brand, who plays alongside him, said: "When I didn't have the money to get the bus to come, he would drive all the way to me to pick me up, to bring me all the way back and drop me off and he does everything he can for the team whenever he can."

That rang true throughout the pandemic as he did whatever he could to keep the money coming in and keep his fellow players' spirits up.

Jack raised £1,188 from shaving his head during lockdown. Credit: Family picture

He shaved off his hair and beard during the first lockdown raising more than a thousand pounds - which was used to buy a new defibrillator for the club, as well as helping cover the cost of day trips and other activities for the players.

He's won praise from Her Majesty the Queen for his efforts as well as getting a special message from Liverpool and England player Jordan Henderson commemorating him on his achievements.

Jack hopes to raise even more money moving forward to help the club expand more, to start playing teams from outside Devon.

He went on to say: "Since becoming a father, it's more giving back to the community and that is a huge point for me. Because I want my son to be able to look at me one day and say my dad's done that and I want to be just like my dad."

  • ITV West Country will reveal the regional winner on Friday 1st October in our 6pm programme.