Most deserving people in the UK working in Mid Sussex

"Most Deserving people" Richard and Lesley in Kenya
"Most Deserving people" Richard and Lesley in Kenya

A maintenance man from Ashdown Park Hotel, near Forest Row, and a governor of Oathall Community College, Haywards Heath, have been rewarded for their charity work.

Roger Dann and his wife Lesley have been named the ‘Most Deserving People in the UK’ following a competition run by clothing company Damart.

The pair have spent the past 15 years working with homeless boys in Kenya, setting up shelters and finding new homes for them.

They were secretly entered into the competition by a close friend and they have now won a trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights.

Lesley, 58, said: “It was such a surprise.

“We had reached the finals before we even knew we had been entered!

“It’s embarrassing really as we are not doing it for the prizes, it’s just what we do.

“At the same time it was also very humbling we just couldn’t quite believe it.”

Ben Booker, general manager at Ashdown Park Hotel said: “They work tirelessly to make a difference to young boys’ lives in Kenya and are very worthy winners.”

In 2007 the couple set up their own charity, Harambee for Kenya, after almost 10 years of working in the country.

Since then they have worked with more than 300 children and are about to set up their second shelter to try and house more young children.

They also plan to open a banana plantation later this year with £5000 raised by Oathall Community College, Haywards Heath.

It is hoped this will reduce their food bill, and earn the charity which receives no Government funding some extra money.

Lesley added: “Our main aim is to make these children valued members of society.

“Last Easter we sent 10 young men back out in to the world.

“They all have there own homes and one is even getting married.

“I am chuffed to bits.”

The charity stalwart confirmed she and her husband are in it for the long haul.

“You can see such a change.

“It’s not one of those projects you can give up on.

“We can’t stop now.”

For more information visit