Hercule wins JustGiving’s Fundraiser of the Year

October 2022

Turning Tides fundraiser Hercule Van Wolfwinkle, AKA Phil Heckels of Worthing, has won JustGiving’s Creative Fundraiser of the Year 2022. There were tens of thousands of nominations to become a finalist, and Hercule was subsequently voted the overall winner of the prestigious award.

The ceremony for the national awards was held in London on Monday 10th October, which, fittingly, also happened to be World Homeless Day. It celebrated the inspiring people and charities making the world a better place.

The quirky artist began drawing self-proclaimed ‘rubbish’ portraits of people’s pets for commission in 2020 and the funds raised through donations are donated Turning Tides and StreetVet. To date, he has raised an amazing £200,000 for the two charities and this amount continues to increase, raising vital money to support Turning Tides’ under-funded frontline services.

Hercule is now internationally known for his animal portraits and this incredible journey started one afternoon when he was doodling a picture of his dog and then posted it on Facebook. Little did he know that post would go viral, and his work would soon be in high demand with requests from all over the globe for portraits flooding into his inbox. He said of his win:

“My imposter syndrome has been sent into overdrive. When I posted that first rubbish picture of my dog on Facebook a little over two years ago, I had no idea I’d end up here. But it’s not my silly pictures that have got the fundraising to where it is today, it’s the generosity of others. I can never articulate what it means when people donate but thank you – thank you is all I have! Everybody nominated who is raising money or doing something to make the world a little bit better for the other people in it are all winners in my eyes.”

The Fundraiser of the Year JustGiving Awards take place annually and are split into eight categories. The fundraising platform has 22 million users worldwide and the awards have tens of thousands of nominations each year.

You can find out more about Hercule’s journey by following his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/portraitsbyhercule