Hartlepool fundraising hero shortlisted for national awards
Charity champion Stephen Picton is used to helping others.
Now the community stalwart is on the receiving end of the public’s good wishes after being nominated for a high profile award.
Taxi driver Stephen is one of four people shortlisted from the Tyne Tees ITV region for the Pride of Britain Awards.
He has been nominated by the public in the ITV Fundraiser of the Year category and finds out on Friday if he has been chosen as a national finalist.
Stephen, known to many people in the town as Taffy, has been at the heart of a number of fundraising drives in Hartlepool including organising the recent Splash For Cash at Seaton Carew to help send Bradley Lowery to America for cancer treatment which has raised over £5,000 to date.
He said: “It is fantastic to be nominated but it is more brilliant to represent Hartlepool on a scale like this.
“One person from each region gets chosen to go to the ceremony in London. Just to get into the last four in this region is an honour.”
Last year, Stephen, married to Sandy, organised a balloon release for two-year-old Jacob Jenkins who tragically died after choking on a grape.
And he also organised an unforgettable event when Hartlepool youngster Keisha Watson forgot her battle with leukaemia to become a princess for the day.
Stephen, 45, added: “I don’t go looking for things to do. I get approached and if it touches my heart or I feel affected by it I will go for it 100%.
“If there’s going to be a smile on someone’s face at the end of it even better.”
And Stephen said none of the causes would have been as successful without the support of the town.
“This town closes in, if it is one of our own it just helps. This town is pretty awesome.”
He is also helping to spread the word to help raise money for three-year-old Lyla O’Donovan, who is about to undergo brain tumour surgery.
The Pride of Britain Awards is at Grosvenor House in London and will be on ITV on November 1.