Hartlepool stalwart among those named in Queen’s birthday honours list

Peter Gowland (left) and Keith Bayley outside of the Victoria Road HVDA office. Picture by FRANK REID.
Peter Gowland (left) and Keith Bayley outside of the Victoria Road HVDA office. Picture by FRANK REID.

A behind-the-scenes chief of a voluntary organisation in Hartlepool has been thrust to the fore after being awarded an MBE for the work he has done for the town.

Keith Bayley, manager of Hartlepool Voluntary Development Association (HVDA), is to receive the prestigious accolade after being named in the Queen’s Honours Birthday List.

The 55-year-old has worked for the organisation since 1987 and has managed to bring £10m into Hartlepool for the benefit of the people here.

But modest Keith says the award is a team effort which gives the town the recognition it deserves.

He told the Mail: “It is recognition of the work that has been done but it is work that has been done as a team, and is recognition for the organisation and the town.

“I was very pleased to get the letter saying that I was to be awarded the MBE, but I think my mam was more excited than me! She can’t wait to tell everyone.”

He added: “I’m sure there are people who are more deserving of it than me who haven’t been put forward for it.”

Keith was nominated by his long-time colleague and friend Peter Gowland, who also received an MBE around 10 years ago.

Keith, who lives in the Middlesbrough area, has transformed HVDA from a small voluntary body into one of the leading development agencies in the North East, helping to support almost 8,000 adult volunteers into placements within the voluntary and community sector in the town.

In addition to this, almost 3,500 young volunteers aged between 16 and 25 have also found volunteering placements through the agency.

Since 2001, he has managed a range of community chests, which has made 2,268 awards to projects in the voluntary sector.

He has also worked closely with public sector bodies to increase the amount of funds given to the voluntary sector in Hartlepool.

Keith has also chaired Hartlepool MIND for over a decade, firstly between 1997 and 2004, and then since 2009, helping develop the organisation from very small beginnings, into one of the leading MIND branches in England.

As a teenager he also carried out various voluntary projects in Canada, Northern Ireland and various parts of the UK.

MBEs also went to Patricia Carroll, operations manager at HM Revenue and Customs’ Peterlee Contact Centre, for services to taxpayers and voluntary service to education in Hartlepool, Roy Simpson, from Peterlee, for services to Education Cricket and to the community in Durham.

Alexander Beveridge Anderson, chairman of Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, has been given an OBE for services to the Tees Valley.