A desire to do “something useful” has turned into a passionate commitment for veteran giver Richard Lawrence.
Richard has been part of The Besom in York’s van team since 2008 and hundreds of deliveries later, he remains a regular behind the wheel.
A retired IT systems engineer, Richard (pictured above) is among our longest-serving givers.
Now 65, he first came across The Besom on a weekend away with St Michael le Belfrey.
“I had gone down to three days at work and was looking to do something useful,” he said,
“At one of the sessions, Rob Ainsworth (The Besom in York co-ordinator) was giving a seminar about poverty and bridging the gap between rich and poor.
“That was the first time I had heard of The Besom. It struck a chord with me.
“We moved to York thinking it was just a nice middle class place.
“But when I went out with The Besom and through people’s doors, I saw how needy it was as well.
“That is one of the reasons that has kept me involved. That need doesn’t seem to go away.”
Richard plans to keep giving on the van runs “while I can still lift stuff” and pointed to a number of highlights from his time so far.
He said: “Quite often you go into people’s homes and they just really want to chat to you.
“That alone can be very rewarding and satisfying.
“Then there is the whole business of answers to prayer.
“I had been a Christian for a long time before I started giving with The Besom, but I don’t think I had really experienced such practical answers to prayer.
“The one that always sticks in my mind was picking up a carpet.
“We couldn’t leave anything on the van at the end of the day, but agreed to take the carpet when it was offered.
“We were praying that somebody would need it.
“When we arrived at the next house, before we could even get out, there was a knock on the window and someone asking do we ever get carpets to give out?!
“They were so pleased that they could get it.”
Of the more unusual things he has collected, Richard (pictured above right in Christmas mood!) pointed to a “colossal cooker”, which took three men to carry and a trampoline, which the team also had to put back together.
He added: “No matter how strange things are, there is always someone somewhere that needs them.
“Another thing I enjoy is the challenge of getting ‘impossible’ things through doorways!”
To find out ways you can serve God by giving to The Besom in York, please click here