A FORMER York resident, described as the “beating heart of the community,” has been nominated for a Community Pride award.

Simon Perry, who sadly passed away on May 7 this year aged 59, has been nominated for the Person of the Year prize in this year’s awards.

Simon was behind the mission to restore the forgotten and derelict Red Tower on York’s City Walls, devoting his time and energies to bringing it back to life.

As well as driving the project to restore the physical structure of the building, Simon created a community space and resource for Walmgate residents. He also set up the Walmgate Community Association, acting as Chair for a number of years.

Simon has been nominated for the award by Councillor Fiona Fitzpatrick, of the Guildhall Ward. Cllr Fitzpatrick said: “I am proud to have known Simon, worked alongside him and called him a friend. He was unassuming and selfless, always putting others before himself.

“Simon’s principles of fairness for all were lived out in his daily life. He cared about those less fortunate than himself by providing a place where they could meet, be fed and supported.

“I feel in recognising Simon with an award, it would be a recognition not just of the man himself. but would serve as a wonderful legacy for all that is good in the Walmgate community that he was proud to serve and be belong to.”

Simon worked together with Cllr Fitzpatrick at the York Food Poverty Action and fought to provide hot meals for local children in school holidays.

This rapidly developed into the Pay As You Feel Café, every Monday, where people from Walmgate and beyond could go for soup and a sandwich and a food parcel to take home, paying only as they could afford.

Food would be sourced and donated from local supermarkets, with Simon spending a large part of his weekend collecting the food and preparing for Monday’s café.

Nominations for this year’s Community Pride Awards are now closed. Three finalists will be selected from each category and an overall winner will be announced during a ceremony later in the year.