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Tributes paid to community champion Keith

Keith Orrell, who was at the heart of many community initiatives in Wrenthorpe.
Keith Orrell, who was at the heart of many community initiatives in Wrenthorpe.

Tributes have been paid to a community champion who has died at the age of 83.

Keith Orrell made such a huge contribution to Wrenthorpe that he was awarded an MBE for his efforts in 2012.

Following a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease, he died at home with his family by his side on June 15.

His long list of achievements included launching Wrenthorpe Gardening Club, the village singers, the indoor bowling club and was a founder member and president of the Wrenthorpe Environmental Society.

He also found time to be a governor at Jerry Clay Academy, serving the school for 25 years.

Last year the school even named their outdoor learning area after him.

Originally from Sheffield, Keith’s working life was spent as a teacher and a university lecturer in geography.

His daughter Jo Orrell said: “From an early age and throughout his life, dad was driven to achieve and make the world a better place.

“If nothing was happening he would make it happen.

“If something was happening, then he would get involved and make it even better.

“He fought Parkinson’s so bravely and never, ever complained although it had robbed him of many of the things he loved, particularly tending his beloved garden.

“Indeed, he turned his Parkinson’s to the advantage of others and set up Wakefield Parkinson’s Support Group.

“But my dad could not have done any of this without the support of my mum who was his rock, albeit quietly so.

“My parents’ house is full of so many condolence cards and wonderful tributes, there are nearly 200.”

Keith is survived by his wife Jenny, children Jo, Nick and Tim, and three grandchildren, Finn, Nicholas and Evie.

His funeral will be held today, Friday, July 6 at Wakefield Crematorium, Standbridge Lane, Kettlethorpe and starts at 1.40pm.

This will be followed by a gathering to celebrate his life with afternoon tea at 3pm at Wrenthorpe Village Hall on Wrenthorpe Lan