HE was stunned when he was named Edinburgh’s Local Hero earlier this year.
Overwhelmed with pride, the single father-of-three collected his trophy at the Evening News Local Hero Awards and wasted no time organising his next fundraising mission.
But now Dean Reilly’s generous efforts have been recognised nationwide, when he appeared on ITV’s Lorraine show – as the first recipient of her coveted “Kelly’s Award”.
Dean, who is battling multiple sclerosis, was interrupted by a knock at his front door yesterday morning as he was finishing his post-breakfast washing-up.
He swung open the door to discover a live TV crew in the garden of his Newcraighall home, cheering as they announced he’d won the accolade.
Former X Factor star Jake Quickenden handed over the “Kelly’s Heroes” trophy and pulled Dean in front of the camera.
The plucky dad, who works in the Nike store at Craigleith, told the News it took hours for the experience to sink in.
He was oblivious to the fact that his best friend Phil Briscoe had nominated him for the award.
ITV became interested in his story following the Evening News’ glittering Local Hero awards ceremony in May, which took place in the Assembly Rooms on George Street.
He said: “I was in shock, they totally caught me off guard. It’s still sinking in to be honest. I had absolutely no idea.
“I’m so humbled to have received this award and for all the support everyone has given me.
“I get enjoyment and pleasure out of what I do to help others, so to be recognised in this way is really humbling.”
The Kelly’s Heroes campaign celebrates people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help someone in their family, neighbourhood, school, hospital or social group.
Lorraine Kelly’s team will be travelling the UK over the coming months to award recipients.
Since Dean was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis – a neurological condition that affects the nerves – in 2012 he has participated in a range of fundraising events for the MS Society Scotland and other organisations.
Despite his condition, he recently participated in both the London and Edinburgh marathons. He had also been planning to participate in the gruelling London-to-Paris Arch to Arc challenge later this year, but due to a shoulder injury he sustained in the summer, the challenge has been postponed.
Dean said: “I move at about 100mph in the mornings trying to get everything ready for the day so this was the last thing I was expecting.
“Over the past few months I’ve just been having some time off, recovering from my injury, but I will be back to fundraising soon enough.”
The Arch de Arc endurance challenge will eventually see Dean run 90 miles from the Marble Arch in London to the Dover coast, row 20 miles to Calais, and then undertake a 180-mile cycle to the Arc De Triomphe in Paris.
Lorraine Kelly said: “It was fantastic to give Dean Reilly the first ever Kelly’s Hero award live on the show. He looked so surprised when he answered the door to Jake Quickenden.
“He is such a deserving winner having raised thousands of pounds for charity. He’s a real inspiration.”