A Brentwood photographer has just topped £250,000 that he has raised in just nine years with charity auctions for a children’s hospice.

Richard Barker has persuaded celebs like the late Barbara Windsor to donate items he can put under the hammer.

Richard writes to showbiz stars asking for help for Haven House Children's Hospice in Woodford Green.

The 35-year-old keeps at it every evening.

“There are days when it gets hard,” Richard admits. “I sometimes think I need to stop, but keep going because it’s nice to know you’re making a difference.”

Richard has been fundraising for charity since he was a teenager. It is his one great love in life, first for a national children's charity then Haven House since 2014, totalling £275,000 in all.

Even when he started working as a freelance photographer for lifestyle magazines, he would sit at his computer in the evening using Google to find celebrities’ agents.

“It takes time, but you get there eventually,” he explains. “But you have to spread the net wide and not get fixed on one person or you get disappointed.

Romford Recorder: Mark Wright from TV’s Only Way is Essex snapped with RichardMark Wright from TV’s Only Way is Essex snapped with Richard (Image: Richard Barker)

“I frequently get turned down from celebrities who understandably get inundated.

“But I carry on regardless — contact enough celebrities and some eventually get back to you.”

He also uses his professional camera volunteering to promote Haven House fundraising events, snapping celebs like Windsor opening the Amy Winehouse Foundation music room at the hospice in 2014 and the Duchess of Gloucester on a visit later that year.

He also caught Sir Iain Duncan Smith on camera at a Haven House Platinum Jubilee tea party last year and Mark Wright from TV’s Only Way is Essex at this year’s Big Birthday Ball in March.

Others he’s snapped include Vicki Michelle and Rochelle Humes at the 2018 Haven House Ball.

Champion athlete Usain Bolt sent him his signed trainers which fetched a good price under auction. Celebrity shoe designer Manolo Blahnik signed a pair of shoes which fetched £1,000.

But it hasn’t all been easy with the Covid pandemic knocking his fundraising for six.

Richard only managed £16,000 in 2020 and less than £11,000 in 2021 when lockdowns hit the charity sector, compared to £47,000 in 2019.

“It was much harder to get donations during the emergency,” Richard recalls. “There were no fundraising events. A lot of well-wishers were out of work. People were stuck at home.”

But the committed churchgoer had faith in the nation’s recovery and last year raised £45,000, almost as much as 2019, with all signs that 2023 will be even better.

All he needs are gifts from the public and especially from celebrities, with his “30donations.uk” website or his email Richard@RichardCBarker.com for wellwishers.