A BASINGSTOKE pub landlord who raised £52,500 for various charities through virtual quizzes has been honoured with a British Empire Medal (BEM).

Richard Curtis, General Manager of the Portsmouth Arms pub in Basingstoke, has been recognised for his services to charity and to the community in Hampshire during the Covid-19 response.

In May, the 31-year-old had broken the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest marathon as a quiz master with a quiz that lasted 34 hours and 11 minutes. He also raised £21.5k for The Pink Place Cancer Charity in Basingstoke in the process.

Meanwhile, Richard is still feeling surreal after hearing the news of New Year honour.

“A real sense of ‘this isn’t real’, it took me a few days to even respond,” he said.

“To be noticed on such a national scale for the work we have done in Basingstoke is amazing. Although we have never done it for the rewards, we have never really done it for the money raised. We have done it to be there for our community and help people stay in and stay together.”

Richard said he has a lot of people to thank for the honour. “Everybody really —people for taking part, my friends, family and company Hall and Woodhouse for instilling values into me that made doing something like this possible.

Richard started the pub quiz on Facebook from the first day of lockdown, when he had to close his business. His initial plan was to raise £150 for a local charity.

The father-of-three ran the quiz every night from March to July, and has continued to do so weekly since, bringing together people from around the country and internationally, particularly in the US, Canada, Australia, and helping to combat loneliness and isolation during the various periods of lockdown. Richard said his quizzes have been watched live by over 1.4 million people.

He has raised money for many local charities including St. Michael’s Hospice, Basingstoke Foodbank and Hampshire Medical Fund.

Richard was also named Charity Champion in the 2020 Great British Pub Awards, while Portsmouth Arms was named among the UK's best pubs.