FORMER Prime Minister Gordon Brown has handed over a special award to a Lochgelly businessman.

It's in recognition of Bob Purvis' generous donations to the Big Hoose project that helps local families in need.

Mr Brown said: "Bob is well known for his support of local causes, including Lochgelly Albert, with the stadium now named after him as a result of being the longest-serving football sponsor in Britain.

"Mr Purvis supports other Fife football teams and the John Thomson memorial tournament for young players.

"He has supported Fife Veterans Appeals, the RAF Benevolent Fund and many other Lochgelly and Fife causes."

Together with fellow director Bob Garmory, Mr Purvis was instrumental in helping to set up the project which is based at Cartmore Industrial Estate in Lochgelly, in one of the warehouses he kindly gave the use of.

It's run by the Cottage Family Centre in Kirkcaldy and in the past 12 months it has donated 430,000 goods to low-income families in Fife.

Seventy local charities are now partners with the project, which also supplies goods for social workers, teachers and health visitors to deliver to families in need.

Amazon are a big supporter and have donated hundreds of tonnes of surplus goods and basic household items that would otherwise go to waste.

The Lord Lieutenant of Fife, Robert Balfour, attended and read out a message from Fife Provost Jim Leishman, in gratitude for the work Mr Purvis has done for the local community.

Mr Balfour handed over gifts of appreciation to Mr and Mrs Purvis, while Mr and Mrs Garmory were also honoured.

At the event in Fife College, more than 150 members of the 600 organisations now attached to the project heard of the expansion plans for 2023 to provide everything from food to bedding, furnishings, toiletries, clothes and baby goods.

Acting Cottage chair Wilma Brown made presentations to Cottage workers, the Bell Group and staff of Briggs Marine for their special contribution to the Christmas appeal, which helped 200 children locally in December.

Mr Brown, former Prime Minister and MP, is patron of the Cottage Family Centre and reported that 20 companies were now contributing their surplus goods, allowing a wider range of goods to be supplied to those in greatest need.

He acknowledged the financial support from the Robertson Trust, Northwood Trust, Fife Council, the Orchard Foundation and Scotmid.

There are plans to expand the number of company donors, increase the size of the geographical area served by the project and develop a project where volunteers from the trade help families to renovate their homes with paint and materials supplied through the Big Hoose.

And they also want to sell non-essential goods to raise funds to pay for staffing costs at the Lochgelly warehouse.

Mr Brown said: This new idea, the multi-bank, that exists side by side with the food banks and other charities, has gone from strength to strength over 12 months thanks to Pauline Buchan and the board of the Cottage.

"We now plan to do even more in 2023 to help more people in need."