London Marathon 2021: A participant who was homeless ran in front of the bench he slept on for 2 years
A man who was homeless will walk past the bench he slept on for two years when he competes in the 2021 London Marathon.
Jay Flynn, 39, will take part in the annual running event to raise money for the charity that helped him get off the streets.
He will walk past the Embankment bench he called “No 3 Riverside Drive”, where he slept for two years after losing his job and breaking up a relationship.
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Jay, who now lives in Darwen, Lancashire, with his wife Sarah and son Jack, became an internet sensation during the lockdown by running virtual pub quizzes.
In 2020, virtual events went viral after he mistakenly defined a Facebook event as public instead of private and drew half a million people.
The weekly quizzes quickly became a staple lockdown event, often bringing together hundreds of thousands of people, and still take place every week.
Last year he received an MBE for his fundraising accomplishments and is running the London Marathon to benefit The Connection homeless charity in St Martin-in-the-Fields, who supported him 12 years ago.
The association supports people sleeping rough and helps them find work.
Jay said: “Martins helped me when for two years I had no help, and I was alone living on the streets of London and they came to my aid, they rebuilt me, they m ‘have turned over to be a human and they have rebuilt me from a shell of a person.
“And I told them back then, I’ll be forever and ever in their debt, and I’m still paying that debt.”
He added: “This is the biggest challenge I have ever faced in my 39 years of life because I can’t even turn on a tap, if there’s a bus coming I can’t don’t run, I’ll wait for the next one. ”
Jay’s running route will pass through the heart of Westminster, an area estimated to have the highest number of homeless people on the streets in the country and where he previously lived.
Dubbed the ‘quiz master of quiz masters’ by Stephen Fry, since March 2020 Jay has raised over £ 1million for charities and holds a Guinness World Record for most TV viewers. a quiz on a live broadcast on YouTube.
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He is also set to appear on Eggheads, in the new series launched on Channel 5 on Monday, and is working with the Captain Tom Foundation later this year as he has been an inspiration to Jay.
Captain Sir Tom Moore and Jay were both part of the 23 England Lionhearts, a publicly nominated group created by the Football Association to recognize their efforts during the 2020 pandemic.
The Connection at St Martin’s General Manager Pam Orchard said: “It is thanks to the generosity of our supporters that we are able to continue our vital services to help people get off and stay off the streets. of London and to a meaningful future and a place called home.
“We do this by addressing the underlying causes of restless sleep and offering practical help.
“We would like to thank Jay and all of our runners for their incredible efforts in making the London Marathon in October 2021.”
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