Father-of-two Ian Alcorn has become the latest to join the Lionhearts squad after raising more than £210,000 for the NHS via his Great British Camp Out campaign.
Nottinghamshire-based Ian started off by camping out in the garden with his children, 13-year-old Lola and eight-year-old William, in March and inviting his friends and neighbours to join in and donate £2 to the NHS via his JustGiving page.
The camp-out-to-help-out scheme soon snowballed after being picked up by TV news and social media and has now received over £210,000 in donations including Gift Aid.
Staying in. Camping out! ⛺️— England (@England) December 22, 2020
When Ian Alcorn started @gb_campout during lockdown he was hoping to raise £100 for the NHS. £200,000 later, we wanted to thank him for his fundraising efforts and welcome him to our #Lionhearts squad – with a little help from one of his heroes 🤩 pic.twitter.com/HHNJG3WaQF
And the Nottingham Forest fanatic found out about his inclusion in the squad via a video call from former England international, City Ground idol and one of Ian's long-time heroes, Stuart Pearce.
“We couldn’t go anywhere or do anything so I said to the kids we would do a camp-out in the garden,” said Ian.
“A couple of friends chucked in a tenner and we tried to raise some money for the NHS but when I put it on Facebook, it all escalated from there.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d get so much interest and raise so much money - it’s been overwhelming and emotional - I keep having to pinch myself."
The bathroom tiler from West Bridgford is a long-time Forest fan and once turned out to see Pearce at a store-opening during his time at the City Ground.
Ian has even been known to impersonate Pearce at fancy dress parties and was lost for words when he came face-to-face with his hero.
Having most recently camped out for Halloween, the Alcorns are now planning their next family excursion for New Year’s Eve and are hoping to eventually hit the £250,000 mark.
“I came home from work early tonight to take the call and I’m totally gob-smacked to be speaking to you,” he said.
“I’m honoured and completely overwhelmed to be included in the squad because some people have done some phenomenal things.”
The Lionhearts initiative, supported by BT, will pay homage to 23 inspirational individuals who have gone above and beyond during this challenging time for the nation and kicked-off with Captain Sir Tom Moore being named as the group's skipper.
The squad so far...
1.Captain Sir Tom Moore – Record-breaking centenarian who raised more than £32million for NHS Charities Together
2. Ranjit Singh – The wrestling coach from Wolverhampton helped organise daily meals for 300 people and the distribution of PPE equipment
5. Betty-Leigh Allinson – Football shirt enthusiast aged five who has raised over £27,000 for a Hertfordshire hospice through a cycling feat
7. Imogen Papworth-Heidel - The young footballer embarked on a mission to do a keepie-uppie for every keyworker in the UK and raised over £10,000 for nine charities in the process.
8. Mehdi Tahero - His restaurant Fuel Catering helped to feed frontline workers and members of the local community in Plymouth throughout 2020.
9. Tobias Weller – Nine-year-old inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to raise almost £150,000 for Sheffield-based charities
10. Joe Wicks - The YouTube fitness coach led the nation and beyond through a daily exercise class for 18 weeks during lockdown.
11. Dr Meenal Viz & Dr Nishant Joshi - Couple campaigning for better PPE for their NHS colleagues.
12. Nana Badu – His organisation, BADU Sports, provided a helpline, food bank and deliveries to vulnerable members of the local community in Hackney.
13. Dr Sadif Rafiq - The Cheshire-based GP suffered twice from COVID-19 but continued to tirelessly support her patients.
14. Kian Cormier - The teenager produced visors for his local community in Surrey, while continuing his studies.
15. Hassan Akkad – Award-winning film maker who answered a call to be a cleaner in his local hospital before raising awareness of NHS bereavement fund
16. Akbar Khan - Bradford-based volunteer for a charity for people with disabilities who brought their community together during COVID-19 lockdown
17. Ayesha Pakravan - The chef set up Vital Meals during lockdown and went on to provide over 15,000 free meals to people in London
18. Dema Aktaa - Syrian refugee who helped raise money for COVID-19 outbreaks in refugee camps by walking on her prosthetic leg.
19. Tony Hudgell - Celebrated young fundraiser who raised £1.6m for the hospital which saved his life as a baby.
20. Ian Alcorn - Family man who turned camping in his garden into more than £200,000 for the NHS.
21. Emdad Rahman - The Barking-based volunteer ran a service delivering books around London on his bike throughout lockdown.
22. Daniel Sukula – Community leader from Bolton who, after being saved from deportation back to DR Congo, founded a centre for disadvantaged youths.
23. Jay Flynn - The virtual quizmaster helped raise money for multiple charities and entered the Guinness Book of Records during lockdown