Actor Melvyn Hayes is best known for his role as the cross-dressing soldier Gloria in the TV comedy It Ain't Half Hot Mum. He has supported Barnardo's for more than 10 years.

Why did you get involved with Barnardo's?

It struck a chord with me. I had a happy childhood, despite being an evacuee. I was one of the lucky ones, although it was all very bad. I was sent to Devon, which was being bombed, then to Birmingham, which was also being bombed, and then back to London, where the doodlebugs were falling. If they'd known I was Jewish, I think they would probably have sent me to Berlin.

Why do you give?

I feel that I've been very fortunate, but not everyone is as lucky as I am. I have six children and we fostered others for many years. When you see a child coming through their difficulties, the rewards are amazing.

How much time do you give?

As much as I can. Charities need a lot of notice to publicise an event, but an actor's work often comes at short notice. I'd never charge for an appearance, so I have to be very careful about what I accept.

Do you support any other causes?

I do a lot of work with the Variety Club and the Grand Order of Water Rats, an actors' club that raises money for charity. I also became involved with Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital after my daughter was treated there. I felt very indebted to it. I always drop a coin in The Salvation Army's collecting tins. When I do pantomime, the cast collects money from the audience at the end of the show. It is then divided between a local charity and the Water Rats.

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