COLCHESTER schoolboy turned media personality Dermot O’Leary raised thousands of pounds for a local charity with an appearance on a TV gameshow.

Dermot appeared on a festive edition of Celebrity Catchphrase on Saturday, where he represented the Colchester-based charity St Helena Hospice.

The 50-year-old, who grew up in Colchester and is a patron of the hospice in Barncroft Close, appeared alongside the Olympic hero Dame Kelly Holmes and the singer and actress Samantha Barks.

Dermot, a former pupil at St Benedict’s Catholic College and Colchester Sixth Form College, finished in second place in the family favourite gameshow, which is fronted by presenter Stephen Mulhern.

Gazette: Star - Dermot O'LearyStar - Dermot O'Leary (Image: Public)

His efforts led to him winning £4,500 for the charity, which was doubled after an impressive final round by the eventual winner Samantha.

Speaking on the ITV programme, the BBC Radio 2 presenter shared his reasons for supporting the “incredible charity”.

“[The money] is going to St Helena Hospice which is an incredible charity in Colchester, which is my hometown where I grew up," he said. 

Gazette: Support - A St Helena Hospice carer with a service user last Christmas Support - A St Helena Hospice carer with a service user last Christmas (Image: Steve Brading)

"It helps the community and helps families, the bereaved, and helps people looking at the end of life and approaching it with a great deal of serenity and dignity."

Lisa Parrish, director of care at St Helena, thanked Dermot for his ongoing support.

She said: “Everyone at St Helena Hospice sends a massive and heartfelt thank you to our patron Dermot O’Leary for playing Celebrity Catchphrase for us.

Gazette: Proud - Dermot after receiving the Freedom of the City of LondonProud - Dermot after receiving the Freedom of the City of London (Image: N/A)

“He made us all smile by playing in our name on national television, and the £9,000 won by Dermot will help to support people facing incurable illness at home across north east Essex and at the hospice in Colchester.

“Nationally, hospices across the UK, including St Helena, are preparing for a collective multi-million pound shortfall next year, so this fantastic win is a very welcome boost to help us to continue to provide excellent high-quality care this winter.

“We’re very proud of Dermot!”

Saturday’s episode of Celebrity Catchphrase resulted in donations totalling £27,400 to the stars’ chosen charities, which also included the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and the Manx Breast Cancer Support Group.