Rushden man rewarded for his selfless commitment to the community

Mayor Tracey Smith presenting John Harley with his award
Mayor Tracey Smith presenting John Harley with his award

A man who has given ‘countless hours’ to the community is the winner of this year’s Rushden Mayor’s Award.

John Harley received four nominations for the annual award aimed at recognising the unsung heroes who go the extra mile and make a difference in Rushden.

Mr Harley was nominated for his work with St John Ambulance as a first aider and with Rushden’s St John cadet unit, as well as being an active member of Rushden Independent Wesleyan Church for 40 years and as a trustee for 30 years.

He was also put forward for the award because he has travelled with the HCPT group (formerly East Northants Across Group) to Lourdes on 17 occasions as a helper and once as someone needing assistance.

Joint group leader Richard Massey said in his nomination: “As a helper, John has enabled people to experience an unforgettable week in Lourdes, by pushing wheelchairs, feeding those unable to feed themselves, providing early morning teas and coffees, advising the newer and less experienced helpers as to how to look after others and acting as a mentor for new group leaders.

“For some time, John has been a member of our fundraising committee, and has masterminded several successful events, most notably dog shows and raffles, aided and abetted by his wife Molly.

“John has done all this for his local community without any hint of wanting a reward, and now is the time for that to be rectified.”

Another of the four separate nominations came from Mr Harley’s son, Paul.

He said his dad joined Rushden’s branch of the Royal British Legion several years ago after serving in the Royal Signals and has been president of Rushden Museum.

In the nomination for his dad, Paul said: “Over the past 44 years, all I can remember when we have been out is that he seems to know everyone as he is or has been involved with so many local things and given countless hours to the Rushden community.”

Rushden mayor Tracey Smith presented Mr Harley with his award during a presentation at Rushden Hall on Tuesday.