Mayor of London Boris Johnson awards Brent volunteers

Alan Toogood with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

Alan Toogood with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson - Credit: Archant

A Brent resident who is the longest serving volunteer at The Samaritans has been given a special award at a ceremony hosted by the Mayor of London.

Martin Redston with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

Martin Redston with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson - Credit: Archant

Alan Toogood has dedicated his spare time to the charity since he was trained as a volunteer by its founder in 1964.

Since then he has spent more than 9,000 hours listening and supporting callers who are in distress and often suicidal.

He is also a regular visitor to Holloway Prison and was heavily involved in instigating the Samaritans ‘Listener’ prison scheme which is now a successful national programme.

Earlier this week he was given a long service award by Boris Johnson for his dedication to the charity at special reception at City Hall recognising volunteers from across London.

Other recipients from Brent were 11-year-old Manuel Mendes Da Luz who is a goodwill ambassador at Mitchell Brook School in Bridge Road, Neasden, where he is a pupil.

He was recognised for inspiring his peers and the wider community by carrying out random acts of kindness.

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Manuel won a ticket to a major young people’s event by singing at the local old people’s home and his teachers say that he embodies the core values of the school with his caring attitude.

Martin Redston was also recognised for his dedication to the Madhatter Community Theatre Club in Brent.

Mr Redston has been a volunteer there for more then 20 years as chair, publicity manager and recently as standing in as treasurer.

Mr Johnson said: “I am always deeply humbled by the heroic stories of the thousands of volunteers I meet each day, who are playing their part in helping to make this the best big city in the world.

“I would like to congratulate all those nominated and the final winners.”

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