Eastbourne hotelier’s world record attempt

Neil Kirby, owner of the Langham Hotel in Eastbourne, has been working in the hotel industry for 55 years. Over his career he has raised £350,000 for charity and now he is taking on an event like no other to raise money for St Wilfrid’s Hospice. We recently sat down with him to find out more about this and his time in the industry.

Neil’s story is one of going from rags to riches, and his journey is a truly inspirational one, which he shares in his book ‘Celebrity Hotel’. Having grown up in a council estate, his father got him a job washing dishes at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London when he was 15 years old. He spent the next 28 years working his way up to General Manager, and in 2005 he bought the Langham Hotel along Eastbourne’s seafront. Over the past 17 years Neil and his wife Wendy have taken the hotel from two stars to four and it is now a popular beachfront destination, loved by both tourists and locals alike.

Since arriving in Eastbourne, Neil has been a fantastic supporter of the hospice. ‘Wherever I am, I want to support the community there,’ he told us.  

Our previous event, the Pancake Race, was first started by Neil in 2008, and although it wasn’t a hospice event at the time, any money raised was donated towards our work. After we took the event on ourselves, the hotel continued to sponsor it. You will also be able to find a St Wilfrid’s Hospice collection pot at the hotel’s bar.

Now, Neil has chosen to support the hospice with his next big fundraising challenge. On Saturday 26th November he will be attempting to be the first person over 70 to complete a marathon on a treadmill. 

‘I am a keen runner, but I hate running on a treadmill,’ he told us. ‘However, I know how important the funds that are raised will be to the hospice, and I am proud to have been able to support its work for so long. 

‘I want to take this opportunity to also thank my wife because without her I wouldn’t have been able to run all of my races over the past 42 years or run our business.’  

If you would like to show your support and cheer Neil on, his world record attempt will be starting at 10am on the hotel’s terrace. You can also find his JustGiving page here.

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