A Network Rail signaller has been given a special award for his work helping the homeless to mark Blackpool Tower’s 125th anniversary.
Chris Conway is a relief signaller at Bamber Bridge, near Preston, with a passion for helping people living on the streets.
When he’s not signalling trains, he can be found leading a team of volunteers who support rough sleepers in his hometown of Blackpool.
Last night (September 16), Chris was made one of 125 ‘Local Heroes’ at an awards ceremony organised by the Blackpool Gazette newspaper in the iconic landmark’s famous Tower Ballroom.
Chris said: “When I heard the news I’d been given this award it was a huge surprise. Being recognised for our work helping those who find themselves on the streets in Blackpool is extremely humbling, but it’s not only me doing the great work, so it’s only right for me to accept the award on behalf of all the people who volunteer.”
The 26-year-old started his Thursday night ‘community watch’ street walks last year, when up to 40 volunteers decked out in Chris’ ‘United Blackpool' hoodies give support to rough sleepers.
Chris added: “From a young age, about five or six, I remember going into Blackpool and being upset when I saw homeless people. Helping the homeless is always something I’ve been passionate about.”
Since starting his street walks, Chris has helped get 25 homeless people off the streets and into rented accommodation.
He works with Blackpool charity Amazing Graze, running the local soup kitchen on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Chris is also charity ambassador for Network Rail’s North West & Central region.
Speaking after getting his Local Hero award, Chris said: “It’s great to be given this opportunity by Network Rail to support my ideas to help the homeless and take that further than Blackpool. Later this year that includes a charity sleepout, and there are also other exciting projects coming up which I hope will make a real difference to help people in other cities find accommodation and get themselves back on their feet.”
If you want more information on how you can get involved with Chris’ support work, you can email him directly – Christopher.Conway2@networkrail.co.uk, or you can visit the United Blackpool Facebook Page or follow United Blackpool on Instagram.