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Gareth Lloyd being named Volunteer of the Year

SUFFOLK’S Men’s Sheds network has been recognised with two impressive finishes in the national ‘Shed of the Year’ Awards.

In a ceremony at the House of Lords, Gareth Lloyd, from Kessingland Men’s Shed, was named Volunteer of the Year, while Lowestoft Men’s Shed came joint second in the Shed of the Year category.

Both were considered to be stand-out examples from a network of over 1000 Men’s Sheds across the UK.

Gareth was nominated in honour of his stoical attitude to life and community, having encountered a severe injury, leading to life-long disability.

He works tirelessly with the local community via his Men’s Shed role, and has recently made two sensory resonance boards for the Kirkley Family Centre, which allow children with sensory impairment to experience sound through vibration.

He obtained the wood for free so levied no charge on the centre. Gareth built and provided the shelving for the local food bank and has countless other projects.

Commenting on winning the Shed Volunteer of the Year title, he said: “I am absolutely thrilled to win such a prestigious national award.

“I am honoured but equally humbled by the praise and the expressions of goodwill from everyone.  

“All I ever wanted to do is to help others in my local area, support people’s mental health and make a positive difference to my community.

To travel down to London and the House of Lords to achieve the award is a day I shall always remember.”

Both hopefuls were nominated by Keith Shiels, from Community Action Suffolk, who works within the community to help Men’s Sheds develop around Suffolk.

He said: “We are enormously proud of Gareth, and also of the Lowestoft Shed team. We are so fortunate in Suffolk to have a great community of Men’s Shed participants who really love the opportunity to contribute positively to the community.”

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