A POLICE chief is among those who have nominated a barefoot religious man for an award, who has dedicated his life to helping the poor, homeless and drug addicts.
Insp. Rob Bryan, from Southall police station, nominated Guru Singh, 65, for an Ealing Gazette & Thames Valley University Pride in our People Award 20 years of sterling work in the local community.
He said: "Guru Singh is a respected community member who uses his time in Southall (and elsewhere in London) to help the homeless, the young and elderly and those addicted to drugs. Guru offers clothing and food to those who have nothing. He helps those who have come to the UK hoping for something better but who become trapped in a cycle of poverty.
"For example, last year alone he helped over 100 people return to the sub-continent (they all had wanted to return but had no funding to do so). Guru is seen by many in Southall as a character who puts all his time and energies into helping those less able to look after themselves."
His words were echoed by others in the community including Jit Pat Singah who said:"Guru goes beyond the call of duty to help the homeless, elderly and other members of the community." Om Parkash said: "For 20 years he has gone above and beyond to help people financially and with food and clothes."
Guru of Station Approach, Hayes, came from the Midlands and began his community work in Southall in 1993. He said: "I saw so many people in Southall sleeping on the streets my heart poured out to them. I have been helping people ever since. I don't give money but if people need food or clothes I help them; disabled, the elderly, whoever needs help. If someone stops me on the street, and they do, asking for help, I help them."
He has done a number of fund-raisers and receives donations for spiritual healing, living on the minimum himself so he can continue to help others. He has gone barefoot for the past 21 years, as a symbol of renouncing material possessions, undertaking a number of sponsored walks in all weathers.
He said: "It was difficult at first, especially in the snow and if there was glass around, but now they (feet) are very tough."
He said he was delighted to be nominated. He said:"I am pleased but more humbled. I didn't think my work was so much appreciated. I don't do it for a pat on the back."