Falkirk volunteer is simply the best

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A Falkirk man has proved he has one of the biggest hearts in the country by winning a national award.

David Downie (80) has been volunteering with the British Red Cross for almost 13 years, and last week he was rewarded for his hard work when he was named the charity’s UK shop volunteer of the year.

And as far as his Stenhousemuir colleagues are concerned, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.

Janise Patton, manageress at the King Street branch and the woman who nominated David said: “He’s just a fantastic person.

“He started with us for one half day a week in 2000, and now he’s here every day.

“He checks all our brass, all our jewellery, he repairs things, he does odd jobs, he just does everything.

“Last year, we was in hospital for a few months after he suffered a stroke and he also had double pneumonia.

“Now he’s worked his way back to full health, and I really thought that he deserved this award.”

David was up against volunteers from the charity’s 350 UK shops, by found out last week that he had won the coveted prize.

He said: “I was shocked. I didn’t even know I had been nominated, it’s been the best kept secret.”

David’s relationship with the British Red Cross came about all because of a wonky kettle.

He was browsing in the Manor Street shop when the kettle went on the blink.

He volunteered to repair it, and was soon asked if he would like to come back in another day.

David said: “I still love the job as much as ever.

“If I didn’t have it, I’d be sitting at home watching the TV.”

Katie Thomson, the Red Cross’s retail field manager said: “David’s award was richly deserved; he’s a tremendous character who is loved by staff and customers alike.

“Last year, David suffered serious ill health. But he fought back and as soon as he was well enough he was back at his usual place in the Stenhousemuir shop.

“David has a great sense of humour, and works in the shops almost every day.

“He is a credit to the British Red Cross and we all congratulate him on this achievement.”