Record-breaking quizmaster Jay Flynn has become the latest member of England’s Lionhearts squad.
The Lancashire native initially started his online quiz for friends and family back in March, shortly after the COVID-19 lockdown began.
It quickly gathered more interest and momentum, before Jay entered the Guinness Book of Records in April after attracting 180,000 entrants to his ‘Virtual Pub Quiz’ and also raising over £750,000 for various charities, including St. Martin’s who had previously helped Jay personally.
"We created a wonderful community,” said Jay, who also received an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List last week.
"The community we created helped a lot of people who were isolating on their own and the messages we get said that it helped their mental health as well as it gave them something to look forward to.
His brilliant @TheVirtualPubQ1 brought the nation together and helped raise over £750,000 for charity 👏— England (@England) October 16, 2020
We asked Jay Flynn MBE to host one of his famous quizzes for @kylewalker2 and @ericdier, who had a little surprise for him afterwards! pic.twitter.com/Ywpw4Gk9TA
"And they've got together with a great community they can have a chat with and feel less alone, so it's been nice.
"I was street homeless in the early 2000s and in 2009, they [St. Martin’s] found me where I was and my mental health wasn't great,” he revealed.
"From a shell, they completely rebuilt me and one the things around that was football and I ended up captaining the clients versus the staff team, which we won 5-2!”
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.
Our panel of judges were all impressed by Jay’s lockdown achievements and he was chosen as one of our squad.
And Jay put on a special quiz for England stars Eric Dier and Kyle Walker this week, with the pair speaking to him about the background to his virtual quiz before answering some questions on their own England careers.
They then surprised him with the news about his induction into the Lionhearts squad, when he was presented with his framed 23 shirt.
#JaysVirtualPubQuiz is live from 7.50pm BST Thursdays and Saturdays for an 8.15pm BST quiz start time at youtube.com/TheVirtualPubQuiz and Jay’s Pub Quiz Book published by Mirror Books is out now.
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
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.
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
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
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