For some people, working to give others some cheer in the depths of winter is no chore.
James Hilling stood out in the pouring rain on Christmas Day to feed the city’s homeless and put a smile on their face.
That is why the gentle giant from Bullar Road, Bitterne Park, has been awarded this month’s Hampshire Heroes award for his undying support for those in care.
“That’s the nicest thing I have ever heard. It’s absolutely overwhelming. I’m shocked,” said the 34-year-old.
The Daily Echo is running the Hampshire Heroes awards to honour those who have gone the extra mile for those people in their neighbourhood.
In association with bus company First Hampshire & Dorset, we are looking for people who have put others before themselves – either by working for charity or by doing a brave or selfless act.
Formerly a professional tour manager for famous musicians, James plunged into depression after losing his job and ended up on the streets.
But he has turned his life around and now works as an insurance broker.
Dervla McKay, general manager for First in Hampshire & Dorset, said: “I am pleased that James has been named as our latest Hampshire Hero.
“Dealing with depression is a challenging thing for anyone to contend with, but what makes his story so fantastic is that he’s been able to turn his experiences into a positive thing for others.
“He was homeless and has turned his life around, but he’s not forgotten his experiences.
“Instead, he’s used his skills in a positive way to organise events for the benefit of others.”