Prestigious award for heart hero’s marathon charity feat

By Jill Dando News

A man from Jill Dando’s home town, who walked a marathon along The Grand Pier for charity last year, has now won a prestigious accolade at a national awards event. 

The British Heart Foundation’s glitzy Heart Hero Awards, held in London last month, saw 73-year-old Paul Hobbs named as the charity’s ‘heart hero’ for his inspirational work. 

In 2021, Mr Hobbs made history by becoming the first person in the UK to walk a marathon on a pier and in the process raised £10,000 exactly two years to the day since his life-saving heart operation.

He is from the same town in Somerset in the UK, where Jill Dando was raised and went to school before becoming Britain’s best TV journalist. Our reporters now write good news stories in her style and memory.


He was also in the running for ITV West Country’s regional Pride of Britain Awards in September. 

Paul was presented with his award by Olympic gymnasts Ellie and Becky Downie. Other guests included footballing legends David Ginola and Scott Allan, TV presenter Will Njobvu, and Made in Chelsea star Ollie Proudlock – who was recently announced as a BHF ambassador.

“Winning this award is unbelievable,” he said.

“It means everything to me and when you win awards like this you feel you’re doing something right.

“Supporting the BHF has always been a big part of my life as I know people who live with heart problems, but having heart issues myself makes it very personal.

“The fundraising walk I did a year ago was a very emotional for me as it was two years to the day since my life was saved, so it was so important to do something special.”


Eight gongs were given to people who showed ‘remarkable bravery’ or have gone above and beyond to help others while coping with the devastating impact of heart and circulatory disease.

Winners included dedicated healthcare professionals, children battling life-threatening conditions and heart surgery survivors.

Charity chief executive, Dr Charmaine Griffiths, said: “Whilst today we celebrate these brilliant heart hero nominees, we also thank each of our brilliant BHF supporters who power our lifesaving science and bring new hope to the 7.6 million people living with conditions such as stroke, heart disease and vascular dementia.

“I’m in no doubt that their dedication and selflessness will mean more lives will be saved from heart and circulatory disease, so thank you and congratulations to all our inspirational nominees and winners.”

To nominate a ‘heart hero’, visit

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