A homeless man runs past the bench he slept on for two years as he tackles the London Marathon in support of the charity that helped him get off the streets.
Jay Flynn, 39, runs past the bench at the Embankment, which he called “No 3 Riverside Drive,” where he slept for two years after losing his job and a relationship disorder.
Flynn, who lives in Darwen, Lancashire, with his wife Sarah and son Jack, became a sensation during the lockdown as his virtual pub quiz went viral after he mistakenly put a Facebook event to the public instead of private and attracted half million people.
The weekly quizzes quickly became a fixed lock event that often brought hundreds of thousands of people together and still take place every week.
In 2020, he was awarded an MBE for his fundraising achievements, and he runs the London Marathon in support of homeless charities The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields, which supported him 12 years ago.
The charity supports people who sleep hard and helps them find work.
Flynn said: “Martins helped me when I had no help for two years and I was alone on the streets of London and they came to my aid, they rebuilt me, they put me back into being a human being and they rebuilt me from a shell of a person.
“And I said to them at that time, ‘I will be forever and ever and ever in their debt, and I will continue to repay that debt.’
He added: “It’s the biggest challenge I’ve ever taken on in my 39 years of my life because I can not even drive a rooster, if a bus comes, I will not drive after it, I’m just waiting for it next. “
Flynn’s running route will pass through the heart of Westminster, an area estimated to have the highest number of homeless on the streets nationwide and where he used to live.
Called the “Quiz Masters Quiz Champion” by Stephen Fry, since March 2020, Jay has raised more than £ 1m for charity and holds a Guinness World Record for most viewers of a quiz on a YouTube live stream.
He will also appear on Eggheads in the new series, which launches on Channel 5 on Monday, and is working with the Captain Tom Foundation later this year as he was an inspiration to Mr Flynn.
Both captain Sir Tom Moore and Mr Flynn were among the 23 England Lionhearts, a group nominated by the public and set up by the Football Association to recognize their efforts during the 2020 pandemic.
The Connection at St. Martin CEO Pam Orchard said: “It is because of the generosity of our supporters that we are able to continue our vital services to help people get off and stay away from the streets of London and for a meaningful future and a place, called home.
“We do this by tackling the underlying causes of hard sleep and offering practical help.
“We would like to thank Jay and all our runners for their incredible efforts to complete the London Marathon in October 2021.”