A community has banded together to help a “local celebrity” carry on spreading joy during the coronavirus lockdown.
Kevin Mckinlay, who has learning difficulties, is known throughout the village of Rowlands Gill near for the heartwarming videos he posts on Facebook showing him dance and spread happiness.
He even delivers flowers to local shop workers in the area to cheer them up and posts morning exercise videos for his neighbours.
And for keeping the village entertained during Covid-19, one local resident Sarah Drummond, set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for some garden furniture for Kevin who loves the outdoors.
To Sarah’s amazement, the £100 target was smashed and the people of Rowlands Gill in Gateshead donated £650.
Sarah said: “I didn’t know Kevin before I did this gesture for him, I recently lost my husband, he passed away in January whilst I was six months pregnant.
“I’ve since had a little boy, Robson, and just wanted to make Kevin happy for giving us all hope during the lockdown.
“He’s always on Facebook and we always see him dancing- he’s always so happy.
“He delivers flowers to the people working in the neighbouring shops just to cheer them up.
“He wanted some table and chairs for his garden so he would be able to sit outside and eat his meals. I set up the Go Fund Me page with a target of £100 but we’ve since raised £650!
“It just shows how popular and loved he is in the community.
“Especially during the lockdown, he’s just kept everyone’s spirits up so I think we just wanted to do something for him.”
On Monday (June 22), Kevin was surprised with a cake and has been enjoying his new garden furniture.
Another neighbour, Allison Elliott added: “Every week he’s stood outside with his pots and pans clapping and banging. Kevin is a very familiar lad around Rowlands Gill, he walks for miles and loves the good weather.
“In lockdown, he has kept everyone on Facebook entertained on his own personal page and a Rowlands Gill local page with his dancing and morning exercise classes.
“He even shows us his cooking skills as he’s attended college for people with learning disabilities doing catering and gives shout outs and sings Happy Birthday to anyone that’s sent a request in.
“Kevin is always on the go, he likes to be busy and at the moment he’s transforming his little garden with plants and gravel to keep him occupied.
“He loves the outdoors. He rides his bike and walks for miles he is always cheerful and nothing gets him down for too long.
“With having disabilities Kevin has at times found this very hard being stuck in his bungalow as he lives alone.
“He is so independent he goes on trips himself to his favourite place Scarborough and Whitby.
“He loves it when people say hi and has over a 1,000 Facebook friends- he’s famous in Rowlands Gill. We just want to give him something back for keeping us all entertained.”
Kevin found out about the plan to raise money for some garden furniture when he saw it on Facebook and said he was “really excited.”
He said: “I only found out when I saw it on Facebook and I was really excited.
“I’ve been eating my meals outside and I want to have people come over. I’m just so happy.”