A pensioner who has devoted his life to public service has been awarded an MBE for his work in helping people to deal with worrying money issues.
David Fleetwood joined South Tyneside Credit Union (STCU) at the invitation of the chief executive of South Tyneside Council.
He has been given his award for his services to the public.
Mr Fleetwood, 70, who lives in Cleadon, had been employed by Sunderland City Council for over 40 years and had experience in the city treasurer’s department at senior level.
With his assistance STCU was hugely successful - attracting more grant funding, encouraging more volunteers and increasing loans by 425 on the previous year alone.
The union’s loan amount also shot up by 41%.
Over the last two years, Mr Fleetwood, a dad-of-two and grandad-of-two, has overseen the merger of STCU with a similar service in Sunderland and is now chairman of a new organisation, the Bridges Community Bank.
He has done his best to make sure that the new organisation succeeded for the benefit of the now much wider communities of the North East.
Under his guidance the debt provision has been reduced by £5,000 over the last year with a further prediction of £5,000 for the coming year. His latest project for the credit union is to introduce the sale of washing machines, fridges and freezers at significantly lower prices than the High Street.
From 2004 to 2015 he was also a non-executive director on the board of South Tyneside Hospital.
Mr Fleetwood, who admitted news he was to be awarded an MBE came “totally out of the blue”, said: “In this part of the world, people are still struggling to get financial help so it’s important that they have credit unions.
“Some people can’t get banks accounts or loans because of their history, and we provide a basic service for them.
“There are members who are well off but feel using a credit union is the right thing to do.
“There are a lot of people in Sunderland and South Tyneside who rely on us, especially at this time of year.”
Mr Fleetwood also helps advise his friend John Griffith - who runs Safe Water Trust - which provides water filters for people living in Africa.
He is also on the board of the Hays Travel Foundation.
He is now looking forward to being given a date to go to Buckingham Palace to receive his honour some time in 2018.
“You can only take three people so my wife Joan and daughters, Samantha and Caroline, will be coming, but we are going to bring the whole family down and make a day of it,” he added.