John Priestley wins volunteer of the year award

Date published: 07 December 2018

Local man John Priestley was named volunteer of the year at the Manchester Be Proud Awards 2018 last month.

The Be Proud Awards celebrate the volunteers and unsung heroes who make a big difference in communities and help to make Manchester the thriving, friendly and buzzing city it is.

The Volunteer of the Year award rewards the exceptional contribution made by volunteers who improve the lives or surroundings of others. Out of the thousands who volunteer, this award is for the selfless person who, time and again, have given up their free time to help others. These people go above and beyond to make a difference to those around them.

John volunteers at three organisations; Back on Track, The Manchester International Festival and The National Football Museum. He is also part of Andy Burnham’s homeless committee group.

John is a resident at The Limes Housing in Castleton and they hosted a reception for John this week (5 December 2018) to celebrate his award.

The Mayor of Rochdale, Councillor Mohammed Zaman was invited along with representatives from Back on Track, Streetwise Opera and the Museum of Homelessness.

John said: “The Manchester International Festival & The National Football Museum both nominated me for the Be Proud Manchester, Volunteer of the year award for Greater Manchester 2018.

“I was invited to the Midlands Hotel on 16 November as I made the final shortlist of three people which was amazing as I know there are 110,000 volunteers in the area.”

At the event at The Limes Housing he said: “My fellow residents have worked their magic in welcoming everybody with such enthusiasm, and I am touched by the pride you have in me, your comments made me feel the last three years were worthwhile.

“Thanks to Step and Halsall House for preparing me to move into The Limes Housing where I can live an independent life with support if needed and allows me to inspire others with my actions. Without the support they give me I would never have been able to achieve my goals.

“The Mayor has very kindly offered to support me on a motivational speaking course which is a dream come true - furthermore he has invited me to join the Mayors Charity Committee.

“I am reminded of a quote from my Grandmother: ‘You can only do your best John’.”

Peter Hurley from The Limes Housing said: “This is a fantastic achievement for John following a period of homelessness. In fact, the week that he won the award was the third anniversary of him coming off the streets.

“We’re very proud of John and this just shows what is possible after hitting rock bottom.”

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