Church Gresley tenant crowned unsung hero winner

25 October 2017

Unsung hero Unsung hero

A Council tenant has scooped a prestigious award for going above and beyond in his community.

John Harvey, of Unity Close, Church Gresley, was named Unsung Hero of the Year at the South Derbyshire Community Awards.

The 67-year-old, along with his wife Sue, was nominated by their neighbours for their dedication to maintaining the communal gardens and establishing the Church Gresley Community Group. Neighbour Yvonne Strawley said:

“John puts his whole heart into whatever he does in the garden; it’s something special for all of us.

“His acts of kindness to his neighbours are most amazing. He’s a man who cares about other people and wants to make life better.

“I am privileged to have him as a neighbour.”

Mr Harvey’s neighbour, Jo Barley, who is also Secretary for the Church Gresley Community Group, said that since moving to Unity Close, he has changed her life.

“I was so lonely and felt like I just existed. I wake up in the mornings now knowing I will see someone and be smiling.”

Earlier this year, Mr and Mrs Harvey received a £500 grant from South Derbyshire District Council’s Community Engagement Team and used this to set up the Church Gresley Community Group. 

The group has 39 members, who have raised more than £3,000 through community based events such as bingo nights, lunch clubs and community open days.

Funds are used to purchase gardening, kitchen and IT equipment and to arrange day trips and holidays for elderly, vulnerable or socially isolated residents.

John Harvey said:

“It’s a great honour to be recognised for this award. It’s wonderful to be able to dedicate my time and efforts on something that I’m passionate about and, at the same time, provide the local community a place where they can really enjoy the area they live in.”

The South Derbyshire Community Awards, organised by South Derbyshire Council for Voluntary Service (CVS), celebrate inspirational individuals, groups and companies that make a difference to their communities.

Cllr Jim Hewlett, Chairman of the Housing and Community Services Committee at the District Council, said: “We are delighted with seeing John being recognised for going the extra mile.

“It’s great to see local people being so passionate about where they live and making a real difference within their communities.

“People like John help to make South Derbyshire a better place to live, work and visit.”