East Lancashire’s favourite quizmaster, and arguably now the nation’s favourite quizmaster thanks to his regular slot on the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show, is releasing a new book.

Jay Flynn, who became an online sensation and shot to fame during Covid when his Virtual Pub Quiz went viral by accident, is releasing The Quizmaster: From Life on the Streets to a Global Quizzing Sensation, next week.

Jay’s Virtual Pub Quiz became a lifeline for millions who found themselves struggling with the isolation of lockdown, and raised more than £1 million for charity in the process.

It also earned Jay, who lives in Darwen, an MBE, as well as his own regular quiz slot on Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jay FlynnJay Flynn (Image: Hodder and Stoughton)

His new book, which is being published by Hodder and Stoughton, tells Jay’s remarkable story as he went from running a weekly quiz in his local pub in Darwen, to hosting a viral quiz that was beamed live into homes across the world, becoming a ‘Hero of Lockdown’.

The book also tells the story of how Jay’s turnaround was even more incredible because, as a lost and troubled young man, he spent two years homeless in London, sleeping on a bench on the Embankment, and at one point almost taking his own life.

Rescued by a homeless charity, Jay learnt how simple human connection and community can change - and save - lives.

Now, in his inspiring memoir, Jay shows how, sometimes, you can find the answers you’re seeking in the most unexpected places.

Jay said: “I'm really grateful for being allowed the opportunity to write this book, to open up in a way that I have never done before and talk about subjects that I'm sure will have an impact on some people.

“If my story allows just one person to get help, make a change or support someone else in the same way it has all been worthwhile.”

Jay has released two quiz books in recent years but has spent the last 18 months working on his memoir and says despite his meteoric rise to breakfast show fame, nothing in his life has really changed.

He added: “I have a great group of people around me, my wife and my family and friends, and to be honest they would never let me become someone I’m not.

“I don’t view myself as some kind of celebrity, but I do get recognised from time to time, and it’s usually because of my voice.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jay Flynn's new book, which will be released on May 16Jay Flynn's new book, which will be released on May 16 (Image: Hodder and Stoughton)

“I have done something incredible for people over the last four years, raising money for charity, and the book looks back at my past and how my experiences have helped me now.

“I’ve learned a lot over the last four years, and I’ve seen that there’s community spirit still out there. It’s not like it was maybe in the 80s or 90s, but it’s still there, and needs to be unlocked.

“There’s a couple of things I am looking at for the future, to continue with that community theme.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jay and his wife SarahJay and his wife Sarah (Image: Archive)

“I want to try and get some funding and try and restart a community radio station in Darwen, like what The Bee used to be 10 or 15 years ago, and then give people an opportunity to get some work experience in local radio, and maybe set up a community hub – build something like we used to have.

“It’s a dream, don’t get me wrong, but four years ago I had just walked out of a job at a pub and didn’t know what I was going to do next, so if I can keep putting ideas together then who knows what might happen.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Jay Flynn was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by the Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle in 2021Jay Flynn was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by the Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle in 2021 (Image: PA/Archive)

Jay says he’s had a lot of help over the last four years, not just from the team behind him, his family and friends, but from those on the BBC 2 Breakfast Show too.

And to celebrate the release of The Quizmaster, which has been co-written with Garry Jenkins who ghost-wrote A Street Cat Named Bob, Jay will be signing copies of his new book in Waterstones in Blackburn town centre on Wednesday, May 15, from 12pm until 1pm.

He will also be hosting a live quiz at the Waterstones in Preston on Monday, May 13, from 6.30pm, with tickets for that available on the Waterstones website.

The Quizmaster: From Life on the Streets to a Global Quizzing Sensation, is available in hardback, e-book and audio, from May 16, priced at £22.