A former pub landlord whose virtual pub quizzes went viral during lockdown is set to visit the charities his weekly online events raised almost £1million for.

Jay Flynn from Darwen, who was recently made MBE for his services to charity, is lending his support to Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Picture This campaign by taking part in a video – which premiered during his Virtual Pub Quiz last night.

In the video, Mr Flynn talks about how proud he is to have been able to give various charities a platform, as while the quiz is free to take part in online, many of his regular participants have donated to the charities that feature in ad breaks between quiz rounds.

The 38-year-old said: “The incredible amount that the whole Virtual Pub Quiz community has raised for charities means more to me than the MBE.

"After such a tough year for charities, the fundraising is the most important thing.

“I’m looking forward to meeting some of the charities to see where the money has gone and the incredible work that they’re doing.”

Jay’s Virtual Pub Quiz, which recently celebrated its first anniversary, was set up as a 'public event' due to a Facebook blunder, and as a result attracted audiences of 180,000 at its peak during the first lockdown, with regulars now competing from all over the world.

Through his online quiz nights Mr Flynn, originally from Wimbledon in south-west London, has become a pandemic hero, giving people a positive focus and an escape from the tribulations of life in lockdown.

Compiling the twice-weekly quizzes has kept him going too, after he was furloughed from his job in the motor trade.

Mr Flynn said: “The quiz has kept me going.

"As I wasn’t entitled to furlough, I had nothing to do, so I threw my heart and soul into the quiz.

"I’ve got friends who were on furlough who were watching box sets and learning to cook, whereas I was sat writing quiz questions for 180 to 190,000 people every week.

"That’s kept me going, as well as the incredible online community we’ve built."

Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, Denise Park, said the council are very proud to have Jay as an adopted Darrener.

She added: "What he has achieved in a very unusual year is nothing short of amazing.

"He’s very humble about his achievements, but he should feel very proud of himself and his Virtual Pub Quiz team for the difference they have made to people trying to get through the lockdowns, and the charities that have benefited.”

The Picture This campaign reminds people of the simple things they can do to keep virus rates down in Blackburn with Darwen, so that everyone can get back to doing the things they love sooner.

Find out more at shuttle.org.uk/picture-this.