South Shields 'hero of the homeless' honoured for decades of work helping people back on their feet

A retired businessman dubbed a ‘hero of the homeless’ has been honoured for 30 years helping people back on their feet.
Don Pinchbeck of Emmuas North East with his Founders' MedalDon Pinchbeck of Emmuas North East with his Founders' Medal
Don Pinchbeck of Emmuas North East with his Founders' Medal

Don Pinchbeck has received a special medal in recognition of his 30 years of voluntary service to Emmaus North East.

The charity supports 20 formerly homeless people, known as companions, by providing a stable home, meaningful work, training and individual support for as long as they need it.

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In 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of Emmaus in the UK and there are now 28 Emmaus communities across the country.

Don PinchbeckDon Pinchbeck
Don Pinchbeck

Don is a founding member of Emmaus North East and played a leading role in the charity’s creation and growth within South Tyneside back in 1991.

To celebrate Don’s outstanding voluntary service to Emmaus North East and people supported by the charity, he has received an Emmaus UK 30th Anniversary Founders’ Medal.

Don said: “It was a great moment to receive the Founders’ Medal. To have that recognition from Selwyn Image CBE, the Founder and Vice-President of Emmaus UK, means a great deal to me.

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"It sits on the mantel piece and people see it when they come through the door. The medal enables me to tell people about what Emmaus is and what it does.”

Selwyn Image CBE, founder and vice-president of Emmaus UK, said: “I have known and worked with Don Pinchbeck for over 30 years, and have had the benefit of his wisdom and counsel since the foundation of the Emmaus movement both nationally and locally.

“He has three particular strengths for Emmaus; successful top level national and international business experience combined with a rare level of common sense, a great understanding of the values of the movement and a total lack of ego. This last rare quality has meant that his name is less well known than it ought to be.”

John Machin, chairman of Emmaus North East, said: “Having Don on the board of Emmaus North East has been, and is, a privilege for me as chair.

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"As a board member Don is active, challenging, supportive and knowledgeable.

“Don fully deserves his Founders’ medal. I am delighted (both personally and on behalf of Emmaus North East) that Don’s service to Emmaus has been recognised in this way.”

To find out more or to support Emmaus North East, head to

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