Our Tony is a true champion

Heysham fundraiser Tony Smart, who has been awarded the M.B.E in the Queen's birthday honours.
Heysham fundraiser Tony Smart, who has been awarded the M.B.E in the Queen's birthday honours.
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A BIG-HEARTED Heysham man who has raised millions for charity has been awarded the MBE.

Tony Smart was recognised for over 60 years of fund raising and is still going strong aged 77.

Mr Smart volunteers his services at countless charity events throughout the Morecambe area and donates proceeds to 12 different local charities.

These include St John’s Air Ambulance, Save-a-Pet, the Lancaster and Morecambe College ladies’ football team, Autisme Limburg, the NSPCC, the RNLI, Lancaster and Morecambe Lions and the Primrose House Trust.

He is also a champion of elderly people, often taking fellow pensioners out shopping, and arranges for those with mobility problems to receive new scooters.

Mr Smart, who is married with three children and four grandchildren, dresses as Father Christmas and can be seen shaking his collecting tin each year in Morrisons in Morecambe.

He also regularly runs a fund-raising car boot sale at Lancaster and Morecambe College, appears every year behind a fund-raising stall at the Happy Mount Park Teddy Bears’ Picnic and in 2010 won The Visitor’s Sunshine Community Award for his charity work.

Mr Smart was nominated for the award by local people including stallholders at the Festival Market and his friend and fellow fund raiser Don Holroyd from Save-a-Pet.

His first charity work was for Barnados aged 18 in his native Leicester.

“I’m very pleased,” said Mr Smart.

“I didn’t know I’d been nominated.”

Mr Smart said he has no intention of retiring from charity work. “People say to me ‘You want to slow down!’ but I don’t want to.”

Mr Smart said he could not have earned his award without the help of his sponsor Ken Allen, the White Lund parts and spares guru, who he says has kept his car on the road for years.

He also thanked his GP Dr Robin Sykes of Coastal Medical Group who “keeps me going!”