Charity Fundraiser Lil’ Les opens a new mezzanine floor at Oarsome Chance

At a special opening ceremony on Wednesday 20 March 2019, award winning volunteer and charity fundraiser Les Heyhoe, or ‘Lil’ Les’ as he is widely known, presided over the opening of a new mezzanine floor at Oarsome Chance’s Maritime Workshop in Gosport.

Oarsome Chance, the ground-breaking charity that aims to bring about change for disadvantaged young people in the Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant areas was selected by Lil’ Les as one of his nominated charities for fundraising throughout 2018 and the funds he raised have helped the charity to extend their upper floor at their Gosport base to provide much needed space for the life changing programmes they deliver.

Lil’ Les works tirelessly on running his fundraising events throughout the year and nominates a different charity or charities each year to benefit from his fundraising efforts. “We were delighted to be selected by Lil’ Les for his support last year and we are so grateful that the funds he and his supporters have raised for us could be put to such good use. We’re also extremely fortunate to have friends and supporters who have generously donated their time and expertise to make this happen. The extra space we have been able to create from this extension is going to make a huge difference to our operations, and the young people we work with, we are really over the moon,” John Gillard, Principal at Oarsome Chance said.

Josie Thomson did the honours of cutting the ribbon overlooked by Lil’ Les who announced the new space open with “Bless this floor and all who step foot in her!” cheered along by Oarsome Chance Rowing Club students and staff. Supporters and volunteers who helped build the mezzanine were also attending, including Steve Jayne, who volunteered his surveyor services, volunteer Steve Walker, who provided his building contractor expertise and Tom Aitkenhead who volunteered his electrician services for the project.

The Oarsome Chance charity runs a programme for young people aged from 9 through to 19 who are disengaged from mainstream education and at risk of exclusion. This programme brings about change in the lives of the students referred to them by local schools and the local authority, by combining vocational training (boat building, carpentry, canvas skills and bike maintenance) with rowing and other maritime activities.

To find out more about Oarsome Chance and what they do, please contact [email protected] or visit