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Longest-serving Crisis volunteer honoured with British Empire Medal (BEM)

19.06.2017 1971 XX

Michael Tuohy, the longest-serving volunteer at Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, has received the BEM, the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2017 revealed.

The BEM is traditionally given to those engaging in voluntary work who have made a ‘hands-on’ contribution to the community.

Despite being a father, a husband and in full time employment, Michael, who lives in Brookman's Park, has spent every Christmas for the past 38 years devoting his free time to helping homeless people at Crisis at Christmas.

Founded in 1967, Crisis at Christmas is one of the largest volunteering events in the UK, with over 10,000 volunteers needed every year. As well as warmth, companionship and hot meals, guests in London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Coventry and Edinburgh receive healthcare and specialist advice on housing, work and benefits to help them leave homelessness behind.

Michael’s dedication to Crisis at Christmas, volunteering for eight days every Christmas, quickly led him to the most senior volunteer role of Christmas Shift Leader, with a responsibility for 150 volunteers and 250 guests.

Michael Tuohy, 55, said:

"I was really surprised to get the award and will be accepting it on behalf of Crisis and my family who have made it possible for me to do so much volunteering.

"I volunteer because I know Crisis is able to make a direct impact of the lives of our guests. It's hands-on, and over the years I have met some incredible people, including my wife. Up until we had our son she was also a volunteer."

Head of Christmas at Crisis, Ian Richards, said:

“Mike is patient, compassionate and will always be the first to lend a hand and offer help to someone in need.

“He is highly knowledgeable when it comes to running the Christmas centres, so he is extremely respected by staff, volunteers and guests alike, yet Mike remains humble and unassuming in everything that he does - he just gets on with it. He welcomes everyone into his life with open arms and unfailing kindness.

“He is an absolute credit to his country and this recognition is very much deserved.”