A HAMPSHIRE man who has raised more than £300k for charity is up for a national award.

Leighton Smith was nominated as 'Inspirational Achiever of the Year' and has now reached the finals of the competition after being chosen from amongst thousands of entries.

But the Southampton tax worker has overcome huge personal difficulties in his quest to help others.

After organising and taking part in a 2,500 mile 'Ride the |Nation' cycle ride around the UK in 2015

As reported, it was set up as a way of connecting all 30 UK Price Waterhouse Cooper offices including the Channel Islands and Northern Island

Now after two events the 2015 and 2017 events have raised £302,008.08 in aid of more than 80 charities nationwide.

But last year Leighton suffered a nervous breakdown meaning that he was out of work for months.

Now he has been nominated for the award by his wife Chantal.

They met at work, at PwC, Southampton – on the stairs between floors and they have been married for two years now.

Chantal said: “For over three years Leighton has worked tirelessly to make a difference, fought with passion and a desire to demonstrate what he believes in. He’s made great personal sacrifices to help raise a huge amount of money for an enormous range of charities across the UK.

“What makes Leighton’s achievement's even more astonishing is that the 2017 event was completed against a backdrop of personal challenges, which resulted in him having a nervous breakdown.

"Leighton is now using this difficult episode in his life to propose even greater opportunities for how PwC as a business can increase options for staff to take part in physical activity to support their mental health, something that for others who have suffered too, are encouraged by.”

Claire Lister, Managing Director at Pitman Training Group, said: “We are honoured to be able to highlight such incredible stories, across a really varied set of professions and showcase those who are striving to achieve. Each year, I look at the entries submitted, and it inspires me to see what people are achieving through hard work and ambition.”

The awards, run by Pitman Training, were set up in a bid to show that "anything is possible" and help reward people who are committed to driving their careers forward.

The ‘Inspirational Achiever of the Year’ award is for someone who has dedicated themselves to achieve, be that personally or professionally.

Voting is now open for all four finalists and closed on April 13. The winners will then be announced on April 20.