Lutterworth volunteer champion retires

Front, Kath and John Warren during the surprise retirement party at the One Stop Shop in Lutterworth
Front, Kath and John Warren during the surprise retirement party at the One Stop Shop in Lutterworth

The man who helped found Lutterworth’s pioneering One Stop Shop for local charities is retiring after 18 years.

But John Warren plans to keep doing his bit for charity; he is starting his retirement with a sponsored walk with his wife Kath from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

Mr Warren said: “What I will miss about the job in Lutterworth is the people.

“I’ve had the privilege of leading lots of volunteers who wanted to be at work. And I’ve never regarded this as a job.

“It’s always been something I’ve been passionate about.”

The 64-year-old, whose last day at work was on Tuesday, was the manager of Lutterworth Volunteer Centre.

The centre is an independent organisation serving Lutterworth and the surrounding villages, which helps volunteers find a suitable role.

The centre manages good neighbour and driving schemes and other community projects.

More than 100 volunteer drivers drive 100,000 miles a year, taking Lutterworth elderly or disadvantaged people everywhere from the shops to a hospital appointment.

Twelve years ago Mr Warren launched Lutterworth’s One Stop Shop at Wycliffe House in Gilmorton Road, where he runs the volunteer centre.

The One Stop Shop, officially opened by Princess Anne, brought many local charity organisations together under the same roof.

“All the organisations are independent of each other, but they also collaborate with each other within the building,” explained Mr Warren.

“I think for a small market town like Lutterworth to have something like this is still very unusual.”

Mr Warren, who has three children and six grandchildren, was given a surprise leaving party at the One Stop Shop last week.

He returned from an appointment to find nearly 100 people waiting to give him a big send-off.

He said: “It was lovely. It really made me feel valued.”

His charity walk the length of Great Britain with wife Kath will take the intrepid duo three-and-a-half months.

They will be staying with family and friends as well as in bed and breakfasts along the way.

“We’ll be walking about 12 miles a day,” Mr Warren said.

“It’s on my bucket list as something I’ve always wanted to do.”

And he said even when he has finished his walk, he plans to do further voluntary work.

“I’m a community activist” he said.

Mr Warren’s old job will now be done by two co-service managers – Nigel Essen and Steve Jeffries.