Proud Ken Hayes was presented with a prestigious award by a representative of the Queen for his services to the community.
The tireless 84-year-old was named in the New Year’s Honour’s List to receive the British Empire Medal in recognition of his dedication to charities.
Ken was presented with his medal by Sue Snowdon, the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, at the Best Western Grand Hotel in Hartlepool yesterday.
He was joined by an audience of family and friends from Elmtree Park, in Seaton Carew, where he is chairman of the park’s community association.
Kingsley Smith, clerk to the Lord Lieutenant, read a citation, which said: “His tireless devotion to the community is evident through all his actions, nothing is too much trouble and despite his age he continues to help those in great need.
“Ken’s total dedication, hard work and commitment for his services to the elderly and vulnerable people in Hartlepool makes him a very worthy recipient of this award.”
Ken, a father of four and grandad of seven, started the Cleveland Volunteer Alarm Project in 1994 after suffering a heart attack.
It fitted thousands of panic alarms in the homes of the most vulnerable members of society.
In 1998, he became chairman of the Elmtree Community Association. One of his first actions was to raise more than £9,000 to have the estate covered by security cameras, which drastically cut crime in the area.
Ken started the Elmtree Community Action Group in 2004 and began a handyman service to help maintain residents’ homes and prevent them going into care.
He said of his award: “I’m honoured naturally. I’m very grateful for the Lord Lieutenant coming to present it to me personally.
“It is a nice occasion.”