A Llanelli bus driver, who is known as ‘Mr Selfie’, has set himself another challenge of taking a selfie every day for a year to raise funds for the Wales Air Ambulance.
Keith Thomas, who is originally from Swansea, did a similar challenge four years ago and raised £3,700 for Marie Curie.
The original fundraiser was set up by the grandfather-of-seven after his love of taking selfies became a bit of a joke with his colleagues at First Cymru. Following the success of his year-long campaign, Keith was awarded Marie Curie’s fundraiser of the year in 2017.
Keith, who is looking forward to doing the challenge in 2021, said: “The fundraiser I did for Marie Curie has been the most successful single campaign and it all came about with my love of taking photos. Doing the selfie challenge enabled me to involve so many people from a lot of different backgrounds; members of my family, friends, colleagues, members of the public, sports stars and celebrities.
“Everyone loved the challenge and so many people were excited to be involved. Even now, I have people asking me if they can have a selfie with me – that is my unofficial title – Mr Selfie!”
Mr Selfie has set himself the target of raising £1,000 for the lifesaving challenge but he hopes to smash his target. He will be using the same hashtag as last time – #selfie365me.
Speaking on why he has chosen the Wales Air Ambulance to raise funds for this time, he said: “I believe the air ambulances are such a crucial addition to the emergency services. I have seen them in action when my stepson played rugby; they attended teammates of his on two occasions and were so fantastic at what they did.
“So many lives are saved because of the swift action of our medical services and the air ambulance is the ultimate enhancement of their incredible work.”
The former plumber was forced to have a career change after his ill health made it impossible to continue in that profession. He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2008, which resulted in him being rushed into hospital four years ago and having major surgery to remove his bowel.
Speaking of his health problems, Keith said: “I had a very serious flare-up and I was given the appropriate information regarding my next options and I decided that it would be best for me to live with a stoma for the rest of my life. I have had no regrets. I have been able to regain my life and I have dedicated my time to be the best driver I can be, whilst raising awareness for people living with hidden disabilities and fundraising for different charities along the way.”
The upbeat bus driver has received accolades, such as Best Driver in the Wales Transport Awards and a silver award in the UK Bus Awards in 2019.
Wales Air Ambulance South Wales fundraising manager, Mark Stevens, said: “A huge thank you to Keith for choosing our charity for his year-long challenge. If there is one person that can guarantee a selfie a day, it would have to be ‘Mr Selfie’. Our charity turns 20 years old in 2021 and we are delighted that Keith is supporting us during this milestone year.
“It sounds like a fun challenge and I look forward to seeing who he takes selfies with. Please show Keith your support and help him raise much-needed funds to keep our 24/7 lifesaving service up and running.”
You can show your support to Mr Selfie by taking a selfie and donating via his Just Giving page Keith’s 2021 Selfie challenge.