A long-serving Kingston Rotary club member is this week’s Unsung Hero.
Paul Hickson has helped out with film clubs for the elderly, a polio vaccination campaign, and more over the years.
He said: “I joined in 1994 – it’s 20 years this year. They have been pretty amazing. One of the main benefits of being a Rotarian is that you can make a difference in so many varied ways. There is always a project that’s going on.”
That includes work with the Kids Out charity.
Mr Hickson, 60, of Claygate, said: “I seem to remember that being a little bit special, because you were able to take children who otherwise might not be able to go to Thorpe Park or Chessington World of Adventures and give them a day out.
“More recently I’ve been involved with mock interviews, where you go into schools and give the children an opportunity to have an interview with someone they don’t know, to improve their skills.”
But he added: “There are other members in the club – you could do one of these for them every week. They have all done fantastic things.”
In particular he praised the late Peter Jarvis, the former Kingston Rotary president who founded Kids Out.
Mr Hickson added: “He was a fantastic Rotarian and a great mentor for myself. He was a fantastic role model. It’s very difficult to get anywhere near to what he was able to achieve for Kingston.”
Mr Hickson served as group president last year.
He said: “I learned something about leadership in terms of being president. It was a tremendous pleasure.
“You feel that you are giving something back, and I think what Rotary is able to do is use the vocational skills of its members.”
An accountant, Mr Hickson said he plans to use his own skills to teach schoolchildren how to manage their personal finances.
He also visited India with his wife Christine last November, as part of Rotary’s polio vaccination campaign. The group works with health organisations and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to halt the spread of the disease.
Fellow former president Anne McCormack said: “I have known Paul since I have been a member of Rotary.
“He was my vice-president and he was excellent. He is obviously very active locally. He is always involved.
“He is very enthusiastic for what he does in our community.”
l Do you know an unsung hero? Call the newsdesk on 020 8744 4273 or email jon.sharman@ london.newsquest.co.uk.