A pensioner who turned to busking in the street because he was lonely has raised £15,000 for charity.

George Smewing spends five or six days a week entertaining passers-by in Worthing with popular tunes on his accordion.

The 83-year-old’s efforts have helped him raise more than £15,000 for a children’s hospice and he is showing no sign of slowing down.

Mr Smewing’s fundraising began in 2007 when he and his wife Stella played the accordion together in nursing homes in Worthing and the surrounding area.

Their audiences would donate money to the duo for their time but, as they were both comfortably off and played for the sheer enjoyment of it, the couple decided to donate their initial sum of £500 to Chestnut Tree House, near Arundel.

Mrs Smewing later developed dementia and after a time he could no longer care for her and she was admitted to a nursing home in April 2009.

He became lonely and unhappy at having nothing in particular to do with his time.

'New sense of purpose'

Mr Smewing, from Worthing, said: “My neighbour suggested that, as I could still play the accordion, I should go busking in the town centre and donate what money I collected to the hospice.

“Weather permitting, I head down to the spot outside Marks & Spencer and play for a few hours to entertain the crowds.

“Busking for Chestnut Tree House has given my life a new sense of purpose.”

Hospice community fundraiser Denise Thornton said: “On behalf of everyone at Chestnut Tree House, I would like to say the biggest and most sincere thank you to George for his generosity and kindness over the years.

“£15,000 is a lot of money and this has already gone a long way to helping the children here at the hospice and out in the community.

“Words cannot express how grateful we are to George for his continuing efforts.”

Chestnut Tree House supports more than 260 children and their families across Sussex.

It costs more than £2.5 million per year to provide all its services and just 8% of this is funded by the Government.

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