Keith Woods retiring from Spalding heart group

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Under his watch, the enormous sum of £650,000 has been raised to fund research into heart disease and help local patients.

That was recognised when Keith Woods was voted Volunteer of the Year in the Heart Hero programme of 2011.

Gardening is something Keith Woods plans to spend more time on. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG070414-117TW

Gardening is something Keith Woods plans to spend more time on. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG070414-117TW

Now, after years of public service, Keith, who lives in Spalding, is retiring as chairman of Spalding & District British Heart Foundation Fundraising Group.

Keith said: “I am 77 next month and I feel, having given 14 years of my retirement to the Foundation, that it’s time for someone else to take over.”

Keith’s public service started with a career in the police force, 17 years as a police inspector. The last 15 of those years were spent at Spalding.

A ten-year stint as planning enforcement officer with the district council followed and then, in 2000, Val Mackey died. Val, father-in-law to Keith’s youngest son, was chairman of the Spalding & District British Heart Foundation Fundraising Group. Keith said: “I was chairman of Spalding & District Indoor Bowls Club at that time – and I am now in my sixth year as president – and the fact I knew a little bit about being a chairman they decided to invite me to take over at the BHF.”

He says the role involves guiding the committee in its fundraising activities, such as the annual golf day organised by Spalding Golf Club on the committee’s behalf, which raises around £2,000 each year.

An indoor bowls tournament brings in around £500 a year, and a race night a further £1,500.

Then there are the collections, the donations, the in memorium contributions and the groups that organise events to raise funds on their behalf.

For instance, Keith says pupils at the Thomas Cowley School at Donington hand over between £4,000 and £5,000 each year from a sponsored jump rope skipping event.

“To put it in a nutshell, in the 14 years I have been doing it we have raised £650,000,” says Keith. “I’d like to thank past and present members of the committee for their help and support and also the people of South Holland for their extremely kind donations.”

The money pays for medical equipment locally and supports specialist nurses. Most importantly, it funds research into heart disease.

Keith says: “The main thing is research to find a cure for various aspects of heart disease, which remains one of the country’s biggest killers.”