Leeds community champion honoured by Queen

He is the epitome of a community champion, dedicating nearly 50 years to working for the good of the small west Leeds village he made his home.

Now David Williams' devotion to Calverley has been given the royal seal of approval.

David, 71, has just collected his MBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace – but the unassuming pensioner says he doesn't really understand what the fuss is about!

"I feel quite humble. I'm just an ordinary working chap," he said.

"When I moved here we got totally involved in the area. We have been in Calverley 46 years.

"Our children went to the local church school and it's just a place I love.

"When I think of the things I have been involved in, it's just been a pleasure to me, but someone has noticed, and that's nice really.

"But it is quite a shock. It's something I didn't expect at all."

David, a retired printer and grandfather of five, spends most of his time as a volunteer with community projects.

He has been a helper at the local Champion House, part of the Leonard Cheshire Disability homes charity, for 13 years.

David has also been a school governor at Calverley Church of England Primary, which his son and daughter attended.

He still goes into the school twice weekly to, as he describes it "give the kids confidence and help them with their reading skills".

He also organises the annual Calverley Millennium Walk, which has raised around 20,000 for Champion House and other charities since it started 10 years ago.

And if his diary wasn't already bulging enough, he also finds time to get involved in Calverley in Bloom, helping the village secure its second silver gilt award this year.

David said he was "excited" to collect his MBE from the Queen, and "over the moon" to share the day with wife Mavis and children Andrea and Paul.

"It was absolutely fabulous," he said.

"The Queen said to me 'I understand you are involved with Leonard Cheshire homes, how is that going?'. She is very well informed!"

David worked as a printer at Petty's in Whitehall Road, Leeds for 37 years before retiring and immersing himself full time in his local community.

Vanessa Westerman, acting manager at Champion House, said: "We are absolutely delighted that David has been recognised for the work he does.

"David is invaluable to us. Come rain or shine he is there, rattling charity boxes at flag days and organising bag packing events at our local supermarkets. He will just appear in our grounds mowing the lawn, sweeping leaves, or planting bulbs!

"I really don't know what we would do without him. Everyone loves David."

Rachel Reeves.

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