A BUSINESSMAN awarded an MBE for his services to the community has dedicated the accolade to the people of Teesside.

Mike Hind of Middlesbrough has built up a successful gym and meal plan business and when Covid-19 hit, his thoughts turned away from profits and towards helping people in need.

Using his own money, Mr Hind has been putting together care packages for hospital staff and vulnerable Teesside residents since the beginning of the lockdown.

He and his team have delivered countless packages containing essential toiletries and treats to local hospitals, care homes, self-isolating people and to those staying in places such as Teesside Hospice and Zoe's Place.

And with gyms shut for many months, Mr Hind continued employing staff from his Mas Body Gym on Skippers Lane in Middlesbrough and put them to work on the meal prep side of the business where they helped to create the care packages.

As lockdown measures eased, the team's attention turned to helping families and poorer people in need of food and this work continues today.

Asked what motivated him to work so hard for the benefit of the community, and particularly vulnerable people, Mr Hind said: "The truth of the matter is, going back 13-years I was selling shoes on a car boot sale.

"I am just a normal lad who has worked his way up.

"I am lucky enough that the people of Teesside have supported my business and without them I would not have been able to do what I've done.

"So this is my way of paying it forward and giving something back to the community."

Mr Hind said that he wouldn't have been able to help so many people if it hadn't been for the hard work of his staff and the generous Teesside businesses that have helped the scheme by offering food discounts and other support.

He said: "Morrisons at Teesside Park have been fantastic, Billingham Food Bank has been fantastic, the community has really come forward to help.

"I have a very young team aged between 18 to 25 and they have worked as hard, or even harder, than me."

He added: "I couldn't have done this on my own, we have done this as a town, as a community, so this is an award for Teesside and not for me."