A former miner who spent 35 years down the pit is stepping out to raise funds for a charity that supported him after his wife died.
Allan Hudson has volunteered for Age UK North Tyneside at their Cedar Grove Wellbeing Centre, in Wallsend, for nearly three years.
The 77-year-old, from Walkerville, wanted something to occupy him after the death of his wife of 50 years, Brenda, in 2014.
And to thank them for helping get through that grief, he is taking part in a firewalk over burning coals on November 28 to raise money.
Allan said: “When my wife passed away I was left with an emptiness. I needed something to do, to give back, to help those not as active as I am able to be.
“This experience has allowed me to appreciate and understand elderly people and also understand those with dementia and disability. I love my time with all the customers – every day is different and I enjoy the challenge it brings.
“The Fire Walk is another challenge. It is another way to give back through raising funds that will go towards the older people I help to look after.”
Allan previously worked two shifts a day to support his family, spending seven hours a day at the pit at Cotgrave Colliery, before heading off to work on a nearby farm.
Shortly after Brenda died he began volunteering at Cedar Grove, where he gives between 35 and 40 hours a week to support and entertain older people, as well as doing odd jobs around the building.
The Firewalk comes the day after #GivingTuesday, which aims to get people thinking of others in the run up to Christmas through donating to charity, volunteering or helping out another person.
Alma Caldwell, Chief Executive, Age UK North Tyneside, said: “Alan is an inspiration to us all and a great ambassador for the value and benefit of volunteering for both himself and those he gives time to support.”
She added: “We are supporting #GivingTuesday locally and asking others to do the same by making a contribution to charity in some small way.
“Every ‘gift’ to Age UK North Tyneside on #GivingTuesday – November 27 – will make not only you but a lonely older person smile and know they are not forgotten.”
To sponsor Allan and his team, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/Firewalk2018
For more information on Age UK North Tyneside and the services it offers visit www.ageuk.org.uk/northtyneside/