AN UNASSUMING farmer who is a central part of life in Saddleworth’s most isolated village has received a prestigious award.
Mike Billings, a retired HMRC officer who lives and farms on his smallholding in the centre of the Denshaw, has received an Above and Beyond community award.
The award recognises Saddleworth locals who go the extra mile for their community or provide selfless acts of kindness.
Mike was presented with a jade keepsake and a certificate by fellow villager and last year’s winner Gary Kershaw.
Mike’s award citation reads: “He has Denshaw at heart. If there is an organising or fundraising committee in the village he is in it.
“Amongst others, Mike is a pivotal member of Denshaw Village Horticultural Show, Denshaw Christmas lights, Whit Friday Band Contest, Denshaw Parish Church, Denshaw Oddfellows and, especially close to his heart, he is an organiser of the local National Farmers Union.
“As well as farming his own land, Mike regularly volunteers to help out local farmers at their busy periods with lambing, hay making, bailing and other tasks.”
And he also offers his former professional skills to help villagers and local businesses by giving them advice on tax matters and accounting.
The citation adds: “Whatever the occasion, whether it be help and advice or simply an extra pair of hands, Mike can be relied upon to go the extra mile and nothing is too much trouble.
“Put simply, without the enthusiasm and drive brought by people like Mike, Denshaw would be relegated to an isolated and forgotten farming village of Saddleworth. He is a worthy winner of the award.”
A spokesman for the Above and Beyond award scheme said: “Mike is a vital part of the community’s backbone that helps make Saddleworth and its villagers great.
“He is an excellent choice of winner and fulfils all the award aspirations.”