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ADVER ROADSHOW: Honouring a community stalwart who did so much for area
Buy this photo » Tina Mackie who is recieving the award posthumously for husband Denis Mackie
WEST Swindon residents have banded together to honour the late Denis Mackie and the Toothill Community Youth Group by nominating them for the Pride of Swindon award.
With votes being cast all week, Mr Mackie was named the winner and the posthumous award was presented to his wife, Tina, yesterday.
Denis, 63, was the chairman of the Toothill Junior Youth Club as well as one of the founding members of the Toothill £1million Lottery Big Local group before he died unexpectedly earlier this month.
Tina said: “We are very proud of him, but he always wanted the team of the youth group to be acknowledged.
“He always said they are a team there and not just one person.
“He made a difference in a lot of people’s lives but he did not think he had. The twins next door grew up with him and he could not do enough for them. He used to go out with our children in the winter for snowball fights, and the next thing we knew there would be kids everywhere.
“In the end they would call him up to come out and play. We used to go camping with the kids, and even though we only had two children, every weekend we would end up going away with a dozen kids.
“He was never scared to try something new and always had an eye out for a bargain. If you wanted anything, Denis could get it for you straight away.
“He even got a boat for the youth club and installed it outside Toothill Farm. The girls there said they did not want a boat and did not know what to do with it, but now they all love it.”
Donations have been flooding in for Denis and the group since his funeral.
“There is so much money coming through, and I am just waiting to hear back from the directors how much has been raised,” added Tina.
“Denis would be very proud of the group receiving the award, They are planning to erect a bench or a plaque for him somewhere at the club as a thank you for everything he did.”
Gail Light, locality facilitator for West Swindon, said: “I just think Denis was one of those guys that every community should have. Nothing was ever too much for him. One of the nice things he did was give a bike away to a girl who had just come out of council care at the age of 18.
“That just summed him up. If he felt it was for a good cause, then he would do it, no questions asked.
“Every street should have a Denis.”
Mary Weeks, of Beverley, said: “We have lived in Toothill for 35 years and we know that in the community centre they provide group sessions for the elderly and the young. It is just a wonderful place to go to meet up with friends.
“There is always something in the community for people young and old.
“The children love the youth clubs and it is a very safe area for them to go. It is just a fantastic place to be.
“They have lost one of their founding members in Denis Mackie, and that is a huge loss. But the foundation he has set up for Toothill will live on for many years to come.”
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