‘It all started by accident’ - £1m charity fundraiser looks back ahead of Ashton Gate charity event

Paul Hobbs has organised a charity event for Meningitis UK at Ashton Gate on November 12

A Bristol man who has raised nearly £1million claims to have ‘accidentally’ got into fundraising thanks to a charity event inside a Totterdown pub in the 90s.

Paul Hobbs, 73, will celebrate 27 years of fundraising by organising a charity extravaganza to be held at Ashton Gate on November 12, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Meningitis UK charity.

Mr Hobbs raised more than £10,552 last year, becoming the first person to walk a marathon on a UK pier in the process.

The money was donated to the British Heart Foundation to thank its volunteers for their work two years after Paul’s life was saved two years prior when he underwent major open-heart surgery.

Paul Hobbs, left, at his first charity fundraiser in 1993.

He estimates that he has raised between £800,000 and £1million in his close-to-three decade fundraising career.

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“It all started by accident, to be honest,” Paul admitted.

“Around 1993 I was working as a sports columnist and had been asked to host a fundraising night at The Shakespeare pub, in Totterdown for a lad with muscular dystrophy.

“From my job I knew a few sportspeople who came down to help raise the money and things grew from there - I began to do more events but it feels like only recently I am starting to get a lot of interest in the work I have been doing.”

Last summer, Paul completed the UK’s first marathon entirely on a pier, in Weston-super-Mare, according to the UK Pier Society.

Meningitis UK was founded by Steve Daymond following the death of his one-year-old son, Spencer, due to the virus.

Paul Hobbs and Michael Eavis at a fundraiser.

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“It is a privilege to be doing this for Steve, I have known him for 25 years and he was at one of the first events I ever completed, for his son, Spencer.”

The extravaganza will take place inside the Heineken Lounge at Ashton Gate Stadium.

It will begin at 7.30pm and go beyond midnight.

TV sports presenter, Nigel Turner will host the evening with appearances from comedian Micky John Bull and live music from Shazam.

There will also be special guest appearances, an auction, raffle and bingo.

The event was launched earlier this month, at the Bristol Hotel and saw both of Bristol’s football clubs come together to back the fundraiser - Richard Gould, the chief executive at Bristol City joined Rovers’ Head of Sales Dave Bright.

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Tottenham Hotspur Legend Steve Perryman and former Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson also helped launch the event.