Stalwart Ken crowned library volunteer of the year

TIRELESS VOLUNTEER: Ken Spencer is voted Lancashire Volunteer of the Year.
TIRELESS VOLUNTEER: Ken Spencer is voted Lancashire Volunteer of the Year.

An 84-year-old local historian from Burnley has been voted Lancashire’s volunteer of the year.

Award-winning Ken Spencer has clocked up more than 40 years as a volunteer at Burnley Central Library, where he is much-revered by the staff and members of the public.

Ken was the winner in Lancashire County Council’s staff awards scheme, the Pride Awards, and he continues to give up more than 15 hours a week of his time.

He is described as the stalwart of Burnley Library and makes a huge contribution to the local history collection, through his encyclopaedic knowledge of Burnley.

He has published and donated almost 200 authoritative books and leaflets on the history of the town and a photographic collection charting the changing face of Burnley over the years.

Ken was nominated for the award by the staff at Burnley library, who compiled a 23-page booklet of heartfelt individual contributions.

He said: “Recipients of prizes like the Oscars often say that they were astonished, which is sometimes hard to believe. In my case with the Pride Award it is absolutely true.

“I have never seen myself as a volunteer, but simply as a local historian helping readers and staff wherever I could.

“I have been fortunate in my family and I am fortunate now with my friends in the library. I treasure the book of testimonials compiled for my nomination. It means more to me than a royal honour.”

County Coun. Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for Planning, Environment and Cultural Services, said: “Throughout the county, thousands of people give up their time to do voluntary work to help the people of Lancashire and add extra value to the services the county council provides.

“Through the Pride Awards, we publicly thank our willing volunteers who tirelessly do a brilliant job to improve people’s lives.

“The library staff tell me that Ken never misses an opportunity to help out, supporting staff and library users alike. He is passionate about the ethos of libraries and has used his unrivalled knowledge of the town to help thousands of people, ensuring that there is a connection between local people and their past.”

Julie Dawson, one of his many nominators at Burnley Library added: “Ken represents the true meaning of service: to give without any thought of reward; whilst always exuding grace and good manners reminiscent of a bygone era.

“By giving tirelessly to help staff and customers, he shows the true spirit of community in our town.”

Lancashire County Council has a range of volunteering opportunities available across a wide range of services. For more information visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/volunteer or e-mail lccvolunteering@lancashire.gov.uk