A JustGiving crowdfunding page has been launched to help repair a truck owned by a Saddleworth community hero.
The bad weather and snow has been taking its toll on Saddleworth and across the country, with schools and businesses shut as well as roads closed and vehicles stranded.
But Dez Richardson has helped keep Saddleworth moving by using his 4×4 pickup truck to rescue motorists who have got stranded or come off the road in the ice.
His kind deeds also include taking people to work, picking up shopping for them, and even taking one patient to Chadderton for her chemotherapy appointment.
However he was brought to a halt on March 1 when a fellow motorist crashed into his truck while he was out helping tow a car, causing considerable damage.
Now former Saddleworth School headboy Joe Wheeler wants to show how grateful the community are by helping raise funds to fix Dez’s truck.
He has set up a JustGiving page to help pay for repairs, and after being shared dozens of times on social media in the first 24 hours, it has already raised more than £800.
Writing on his JustGiving page, Joe said: “Everyone knows Dez – I constantly refer to him as the ’saint of Saddleworth’. He is a major community man who simply doesn’t stop.
“He has helped me on numerous occasions and helped the community immeasurably more.
“However, on 1 March, whilst he was trying to help a person in need, someone crashed into his truck and caused over £2,000 worth of damage.”
“Dez never charges for his emergency rescue services. It’s time we all put our hands in our pockets to just pay him back a fraction of what we owe as a community.”
Joe, who is a member of Saddleworth Parish Youth Committee, was also out on the streets of Saddleworth along with other committee members to help locals get around and with errands.
As well as donations, well-wishers have been leaving messages of thanks and support for Dez on the JustGiving page.
One wrote: “We have been on the receiving end of Dez’s assistance he is such a gentleman and this is least we can do as a community is get together and raise this money our way of saying thank you.”
Another said: “Get the truck fixed so you can keep helping people. You reap what you sow.” while one more commented: “Thanks for all the kind things you do Dez.”
Earlier, Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, had tweeted her support and gratitude to Dez and others for their work helping people in the community.
She wrote: “So proud of #localheroes helping neighbours during bad weather – Dez Richardson, Michael Thornley, Nadeem Iqbal & Saddleworth Youth Committee are a few! “Thank you to all of them & those we haven’t heard about yet, for being such good neighbours! @bbcBreakfast #BeastfromtheEast”
To support the appeal, go online: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/joe-wheeler