The Shrewsbury Ark is saying a fond farewell to star fundraiser Keith Goodman, who at 80 years of age has decided it’s time to step down, in order to spend more time with his family.

Keith spent his entire working life as an engineer in the steel and iron industry. He is still baffled by how he has managed to be such a successful fundraiser, when he had to learn everything from scratch at the age of 64 – even turning on a computer back then was new to him!

He began his second career in 2004, when he responded to a poster in Meole Brace Church looking for a fundraiser to secure the funds to build a new community centre. With support from the church community, Keith set to work mastering his new computer and spent his days writing letters, filling in forms and making phone calls. His hard work and polite, but persistent manner paid off and he raised the £500K needed to build what is now the much-loved Trinity Centre in Meole Brace.

Following this success, in 2009 the Shrewsbury Ark asked Keith to consider raising funds to support the work of the town’s only day centre for the vulnerable and homeless. A workplace accident many years before, means Keith has difficulty getting around so he agreed to work for the Ark, working from home five hours a week.

Each year for the past 10 years, he has secured over £30K in grants - a staggering total of over £300,000 - for the charity, which relies entirely on charitable donations and grants to operate.

Speaking of his work for the Ark Keith says “It still amazes me that someone like me, with no experience, has been able to raise this much money for causes that I really believe in. The work that the Ark does is so essential to our community and whilst my disability means I can’t help out in the centre itself, I’m proud that I’ve been able to support them in this way for so many years.”

The Shrewsbury Ark has been left with some very big shoes to fill and is appealing to the public for individuals who might be interested in taking on the role of fundraiser.

Keith says that anyone interested should “Be willing to learn, with a persistent attitude and an ability to maintain good relationships with charitable trusts. An appreciation of the work the Ark does in the community also helps as it makes the work more satisfying. But other than that, as I’ve proved, no experience is necessary!”

Karen Higgins, Chair of the Ark commented “Keith has been a true unsung hero on the Ark team for many years. We would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks for the years of service he has given to us. We wish him all the best for his second retirement, spending lots of quality time with his family and watching many more matches at his beloved Shrewsbury Rugby club.”