A church volunteer has been named as the winner of the first-ever Christmas Spirit Award, which has been launched by east Hull-based charity EMS Yorkshire for dedication to the community.
Keith Power, 76, of St George’s Walk off Staveley Road, has devoted hundreds of hours of service to St Aidan’s Church on Southcoates Avenue over the last 10 years. The citation for his award read: “He has quietly carried out many of the less glamorous tasks necessary to support the many organisations and individuals that use St Aidan’s. He has fixed things, opened up, set up for meetings, made coffee, cleaned, tidied, picked up litter both inside and out and much more. After finishing his morning shift, he often visited the sick and housebound”.
Church treasurer John Hallaway, who nominated him, says: “Most people who use St Aidan’s have been unaware of his quiet but important voluntary work. It’s only when he isn’t here that we realise the jobs we have to do. He’s a joy to have around. Recently, he suffered a heart attack and has had to scale back his work, but he’s still here doing things.”
The award has been introduced by EMS Yorkshire, in conjunction with Gateway, Hull City Council’s neighbourhood regeneration programme, and backed by Probe’s Food 360 project, The Co-operative on Preston Road, City Life Church Hull, St Aidan’s Church and the Freedom Centre.
Whenever the Church pays him or he receives a fee for his work, he habitually donates it to charity. Keith, who is married to Doris and has two grandchildren, said: “It’s something I enjoy doing and I’m always happy when I am giving. My work is simply to repay God for what he’s done for me. Three times I have nearly died in incidents in my life and I have suffered two heart attacks. I prefer to be out of the limelight but this award was humbling.”
EMS Neighbourhood Manager Andy Rees who presented the award in a ceremony at the Church, says: “Keith is precisely the role model we wanted to highlight for this award. He receives £200, a Fairtrade hamper, a gardening kit and Freedom Centre gym membership as a thank-you from the community. We received some great nominations but Keith’s story is so inspiring.”