THREE SURPRISED winners were overwhelmed to be honoured at the Saddleworth Parish Council’s Volunteer of Saddleworth Awards 2016.
Mathew Stefek from Denshaw received the Young Volunteer of the Year award while Uppermill couple Michael and Joanne Hindson jointly received the adult accolade.
At the event at The Three Crowns, Scouthead, Saddleworth Parish Council chairman Neil Allsopp revealed the winners in front of more than 30 guests, family and friends.
Reading from one of the many nominations for Mathew, 15, Cllr Allsopp described him as ‘a very kind young man’ and listed his some of his numerous community contributions.
The Crompton House pupil helps out at Christ Church Denshaw, where he has recently been clearing birds’ nests and tidying the graveyard with his father, who is church warden.
He also lends a hand at Denshaw Village Cinema as well as helping to look after his Gran Joyce McLintock by doing her shopping and household chores.
Surprised winner Mathew, who received an engraved trophy from Cllr Allsopp, said: “I just like to help out.”
Proud mum Lynda added: “It is just in his nature. He is just a lovely boy,” while Gran Joyce said: “He helps me so much and it’s lovely to spend time together as well.”
A glass trophy was then also presented to winners Michael and Joanne in recognition of their contribution to the community.
Joanne has been a member of the Chairman’s Charity Committee for almost 30 years, Secretary of Saddleworth Townswomen’s Guild for several years and a volunteer with WRVS for ten years at the Royal Oldham Hospital.
Husband Michael was chair of ‘Sight Support Oldham’ and NACRO Housing Association, a national charity which houses ex-offenders, for eight years until recently.
He was also a member of Oldham Race Equality Partnership for many years and deputises for organists at churches in Saddleworth, as well as playing piano at a number of functions.
Cllr Allsopp said: “We received many nominations for this great couple. They always work very hard to help people but never shout about their good deeds.”
Jovial Michael said: “I am speechless for once! We are genuinely surprised but very grateful for your kind appreciation of what we have apparently done.”
Cllr Allsopp, at his last official event as chairman, thanked all the nominees for their hard work for the community.
He added: “Here in Saddleworth we are fortunate to have people like Michael, Joanne and Mathew, always willing to help and support our community.
“All three are very worthy winners, outstanding individuals who give so much of their time and effort for the benefit of others.”
Guests enjoyed a delicious two-course meal served up by head chef Stephen Mitchell and his team, before the event culminated with a raffle in aid of the chairman’s charities.