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John Horsley, 83, nominated for Community Pride Award
8:01am Tuesday 17th April 2012 in News
John Horsley, 83, of Abbotsford Road, was yesterday the guest of honour at a party to celebrate his efforts to improve the community – including litter-picking, helping neighbours and campaigning.
Despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer, he has continued with his weekly ward walks to pick up litter and look for local issues to address, remaining upbeat and dedicated to the local environment.
As well as having a bench named after him at the St Nicholas Fields Environment Centre, Mr Horsley has been nominated as volunteer of the year in The Press awards for his tireless work.
Coun Neil Barnes said: “John Horsley is a true servant of his local community in the Hull Road Ward. He was brought up on the Tang Hall estate from when it was first built and has lived there all his life.
“However, on retirement in the 80s, he began to take particular interest in the upkeep of the ward area. And so a few years ago, he set up a ‘grime squad’, consisting of himself and occasionally ward councillors or the local Street Environment Officer walking around the ward litter-picking and detailing problems to be resolved by the council. He continues this every week, despite just turning 83 and suffering from terminal cancer.”
Mr Horsley was born in Harington Avenue in one of the first houses built by the city council at Tang Hall. He worked as a sailor and engineer, before his retirement in 1987 when he began to enjoy life on his allotment and teach young people to fish.
Mr Horsley became more involved in community affairs, including the campaign to convert the former council tip and brickworks beyond Harington Avenue into the St Nicholas Fields Nature Reserve and working to address antisocial behaviour.
He set up the grime squad alongside Angus Young and Coun Roger Pierce, starting a weekly clean-up campaign equipped with their own refuse barrow, brushes, fishing nets and home-made grappling irons.
Mr Horsley said about his nomination: “I’m a bit surprised. We just got stuck in and got the area tidied up.”