A fast fitter from Alnwick has been crowned as the most kind hearted tyre technician in the UK, after his efforts at fixing people's lives away from the forecourt were honoured.

When he isn't repairing motors at HiQ, Larry Freeman is downing tools to help in the local community with a number of selfless projects.

His efforts were recognised by the HiQ fast fit network, who acquired the services of Olympic legend Sally Gunnell to present him with his HiQ Hero employee award.

The accolade was set-up to honour members of staff across the network who carry out selfless voluntary work in their spare time away from their local centres.

The internal honour coincided with HiQ's nationwide Hero award ceremony, which was created to recognise unsung volunteers and fundraisers in communities around every one of HiQ's network of 150 centres.

Larry has been instrumental in creating the community help hub unit in Bedlington, which gives unemployed people the chance to apply for jobs through advice, support and even CV help.

He also plays an active role in the running of a youth group that meets in Morpeth and if that wasn't enough, he is regularly found at his local church carrying out a variety of roles to help generate funds.

Larry was presented with his award by Olympic gold medalist Sally Gunnell OBE at a glitzy award lunch in Birmingham.

Sally said: "It was wonderful to meet Larry and honour him for his efforts. He thoroughly deserves this recognition for all of his selfless work away from his HiQ centre.

"It makes you wonder where he gets the time from to do it all, when he works full time as branch manager at HiQ."

Larry said: "It was a great occasion to be at the award ceremony and even nicer to be awarded for my work away from the forecourt.

"I never looked for any thanks for doing any of it, so to receive such praise is a big surprise and very humbling."

Larry's regional franchise manager Reg Stephenson said that Larry set an example for everyone to follow.

"Larry is something of an ambassador for us and carries out an awful lot of voluntary work.

"He gives up a great deal of his free time and we are delighted to be able to officially appreciate his work through our internal hero award."