CASTLEISLAND- BORN priest, Fr. Jim Fleming is the latest Birmingham Mail Local Hero and he is pictured smiling from the front page of the publication which promotes and values people of his ilk.
"Caring for other people without being asked might not always seem heroic, but for the people who need help it can be a lifeline.
Fr. Fleming has opened his home to people who can't support themselves. He spends his time visiting the sick and has helped people with crime and drug problems to turn around their lives," that's according to the impressive opening paragraph on his award.
The award carries weight in Fr. Jim's adopted home and parish and it counts the West Midlands Police, Jaguar, Land Rover and the Birmingham Mail itself among its weighty list of sponsors.
Father Jim Fleming, a son of the late Davy and May Fleming of Upper Main Street, Castleisland, moved to Sparkhill in Birmingham 12 years ago after doing missionary work in Pakistan.
He immediately jumped into a life of helping to bring together different religions in Birmingham using the languages he learned abroad and his experiences.
The Mail reported extensively on Fr. Jim's crusading life amongst the downtrodden in his parish:
"He took in failed asylum seekers who had been living on the streets and let them sleep in church buildings. Later, when he was moved to his current parish in the city centre at St Catherine
of Siena, he started taking people into his own home and currently has two people from Eritrea living with him until they can find a way to support themselves.
To date, he has offered a bed for the night to more than 100 people who would otherwise be living on the street because they aren't allowed to work in the UK and aren't entitled to benefit payments.
Despite not having a car, Father Jim, now 63 and due to retire soon, travels across the city visiting sick people in Birmingham and Solihull, all at his own expense.
He said: "I feel very privileged, I'm not really sure if I deserve it. It's nice to be recognised for what I do and I'm very grateful for it."
Jonathan Cheetham, general manager for The Pallasades, added: "The work of Father Jim Fleming is an asset to Birmingham with his continued efforts having returned from missionary work and assisted our local people.
"He has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help those in need, visiting the sick, housing the homeless, assisting asylum seekers, young offenders and those with substance and alcohol problems. He is a true asset to the community of Birmingham and demonstrates true dedication to help those in need, our very own Local Hero."
Fr. Fleming's siblings locally include: Ciaran and Seanie and sisters: Eileen O'Donoghue, Margaret Fleming, and Mary Fleming - Kennedy. Another brother, David - who was based in England - passed away some years ago.