A BEACON of the community has been awarded with an MBE in the New Year’s honours.

Darren McMahon, was one of the driving forces behind Pact House, in Stanley, which was launched in 2016, and offers free meals to people using donated food.

The café also serves as a base for Pactivate, a Friday youth club for teenagers in the town centre run by youth workers.

Mr McMahon’s importance to the community was recognised long before coronavirus.

For 30 years, he’s helped to bind the community together.

Dave Clarke co-founder of the Stanley Pact said: “Darren has been described as a ‘big bear’ of a man and that is true in terms of strength, however he also has a big bear’s heart. He has an unrivalled sense of ethics, values and fairness, which is what makes him so genuine and credible.

“It couldn’t have gone to a better person, when unsung heroes like Darren get awards it shows that good, considerate, and kind people can set an example to all."