Nation honours Yeovil's dynamic duo Flo and Jim at Pride of Britain Awards
For 20 years their feats of fundraising madness have brought smiles to the people of Yeovil.
And this week pensioners Flo and Jim Essex took to the national stage when they were presented with a Pride of Britain award.
Famed for stunts including walking through a tunnel of fire, lying on a bed of nails and abseiling from the roof of Yeovil District Hospital, the West Coker Road couple have raised more than £160,000 for charity.
Despite Flo being 82 and Jim 86, they have vowed to continue supporting local causes.
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On Monday night the couple received the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Fundraisers of the Year award.
The ceremony was broadcast on ITV1 on Tuesday evening.
Stars of Strictly Come Dancing and comedienne Dawn French presented the pair with their trophy. Their glitzy appearance came just two days after the pair walked from Sherborne to Yeovil dressed as Worzel Gummidge and Aunt Sally.
Flo said: “We have to do these things to keep people interested in sponsoring us.”
Jim said: “We don’t do it for the recognition. We do it to make the lives of sick people that bit better.”
The awards judges said: “When most people retire it’s time to sit back and put their feet up.
“But Flo and Jim are dedicating their time to helping others in creative ways.
“They seem to have more energy than most teenagers.”
The couple were nominated by staff at Yeovil District Hospital which has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the couple’s stunts.
A hospital spokeswoman said: “Everyone at Yeovil District Hospital is very proud that the fundraising efforts of Flo and Jim Essex have been publicly recognised by a Pride of Britain Award.
“They work tirelessly to raise money and their commitment to the hospital is amazing.
“Their enthusiasm and energy knows no bounds and as a result of this our patients have benefited enormously.
“They are delightful people, full of life and fun and clearly enjoy every moment of their money-raising activities. Congratulations to an inspiring couple.”
The couple were winners of the Charity Champions category in the 2011 Western Gazette Pride Awards.