Pub landlord wins Pride of Britain Award for tireless commitment to fundraising
PUBLISHED: 18:15 04 October 2019
His charitable efforts have bettered the lives of hundreds of people in his community.
And now, after years of dedication to helping others, a pub landlord has received fitting recognition in the form of a Pride of Britain Award.
Paul Sandford, who lives in Dereham and runs The Railway Tavern on Yaxham Road, was lost for words as ITV cameras turned up unannounced to crown him 'Fundraiser of the Year'.
He was one of four finalists in his category and shone through with his tireless support of local charities and good causes.
Throughout 2018, Mr Sandford threw his weight behind Denver's Journey, aimed at giving Mattishall four-year-old Denver Clinton the best possible end to his short life.
Denver suffered with neuroblastoma and eventually lost his brave battle with cancer in February, but only after Mr Sandford had hosted countless fundraisers to help make unforgettable memories.
"This feels absolutely amazing," said Mr Sandford, who received the award surrounded by friends and family. "I didn't expect this one bit, I must admit.
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"Having seen the other people nominated in this category, they've all done some fantastic things.
"I've always been motivated by seeing the effect that the money raised has had on people's lives. Denver's Journey was a massive thing and seeing the joy on his face during the last few months of his life was priceless."
Mr Sandford's other achievements include the creation of Hugfest, founded more than six years ago after his friend Adrian "Huggy" Hargreaves died of oesophageal cancer.
He has also backed efforts to establish The Listening Post in memory of Jordie Rae, a much-loved young man from Dereham who took his own life last year.
Having been saluted for his extraordinary commitment to lending a helping hand, Mr Sandford says he won't be stopping any time soon.
"If I'm able to help people I always will," he added. "It's something I enjoy doing so I'll certainly be carrying on."
The Pride of Britain Awards, held since 1999, celebrate the achievements of remarkable people from across the nation.
Tens of thousands of public nominations are made every year, before winners are eventually chosen by a judging panel consisting of celebrated national figures.
The awards ceremony will be held at Grosvenor House in London on October 31, and will be screened on ITV in November.