Surprise party joy for Colliers Wood servant

Wimbledon Guardian: Surprised: Keith Allen with grand-daughter Bex Allen and the watercolour painting - Picture Credit Andy Smart Surprised: Keith Allen with grand-daughter Bex Allen and the watercolour painting - Picture Credit Andy Smart

An octogenarian described as a man who continues to give his time to help community groups in his area was thrown a surprise party by hundreds of well wishers.

Keith Allen, of Harewood Road, Colliers Wood, was shocked to be honoured in a day of merriment which included appearances from the leader of the council, an MP and the deputy mayor of Merton.

Friends lured the 87-year-old to the Guardian Centre of Merton Vision on the guise he would be meeting a special guest at a celebration for the charity Merton Vision on April 26.

Instead he saw a sea of familiar faces - and was told he was the special guest.

Mr Allen said: "It was a complete surprise, everybody kept me busy doing other things all day but made sure I was there on time."

Mr Allen is treasurer for the Colliers Wood Residents’ Association and works on the social project Make Colliers Wood Happy.

He is a member of Merton Seniors Forum and campaigns for better conditions for older people.

He also works with the Strategic Housing Civic Centre, is treasurer for a garden project that tidies up open spaces and puts unused land to better use, and has been taking care of the catering for Little League football on Saturday mornings for nine years.

Mr Allen said: "Once I got over the embarrassment of it all, it was funny hearing everyone’s stories to keep me out of the picture.

"The great thing is it was a surprise party, and it really worked."

The deputy mayor, Councillor John Sargeant, gave a speech followed by singing, dancing and a performance from a ukulele orchestra.

Mr Allen was also presented with a water colour painting of himself with the boys and girls from Little League, serving tea.

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