Notts local legends: Rev Keith Hebden

Rev Keith Hebden has been refused permission to erect a security fence around his property to prevent syringes being thrown onto his garden
Rev Keith Hebden has been refused permission to erect a security fence around his property to prevent syringes being thrown onto his garden

Most would agree that life certainly is not without its cuts and scrapes and if you don’t have a sense of humour it can all get a bit much.

It’s during the bad times that rubbing shoulders with a good sort from the neighbourhood can really give you a lift.

And as the soundpiece for the community we have met our fair share of such extraordinary people.

Some might call them legends.

So, in our regular ‘local legends’ posts we will try and share a few of the ones which we think every community is a bit better for having around.

This week’s local legend is Mansfield vicar Rev Keith Hebden.

Keith has been making the headlines not only in Mansfield, Ashfield and the wider Nottinghamshire area but all over the country for some time now as a truly committed social activist and compassionate clergyman.

His actions to stand up for the vulnerable and helpless include fasting for 40 days, protesting at RAF Waddington against the use of drones and laying down in the middle of a petrol garage forecourt in Mansfield over Government oppression in Burma.

In October last year Keith visited the refugee camp, also known as ‘the jungle’, in the northern French town of Calais, where thousands of refugees have fled their own war-torn countries in the Middle East in search of a safe and secure life in Britain.

Keith told Chad at the time: “‘It’s a jungle out there’ was a phrase we often heard when meeting with people in the makeshift camps.

“Physically it feels more like a desert - cold winds blow sand and dust into your face and eyes throughout the day, picking up even more in the evening.

“The shacks, tents, piles of rubbish, and debris had a feel a somewhere between a Bombay slum and an abandoned seaside resort.”

Unfortunately, in March Keith announced during a special Palm Sunday service to congregation members at Mansfield’s St Mark’s Church that he planned on heading for pastures new after taking up a senior academic post in Sheffield.

As committed member of the community and as a thoroughly good chap, Keith will be missed.

If you know a local legend whose extraordinary life deserves to be celebrated please get in touch by emailing newsdesk@chad.co.uk.