Tributes paid to the former solider and miner who gave back through the centre which helped transform his own life

Mick Killeen was passionate about his role at Healthworks as he helped others improve their fitness levels. Mick Killeen first called into Healthworks in Easington Colliery as a visitor after it was launched in 2007 to help tackle the area’s health troubles. By 2013 he was hailed its Volunteer of the Year, after he helped run its juice bar, and joined its staff, working with patients in its gym.

Mick, who raised in Seaham and moved to Easington Colliery when he got married, left school at 16 and worked at Dawdon Colliery. Mick Killeen, left, pictured at work with a client in the gym at Healthworks in Easington Village in 2012, watched by Fiona Maher who was in charge of the centre at the time.

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He spent more than 20 years at Walkers Crisps in Peterlee as a forklift truck driver, then as a taxi driver and drove Arriva buses, with this career cut short when he developed cataracts. Mick, who served with the Territorial Army for 11 years, was dad to Jack, 25, and Connor, 21 and also leaves sister Kathleen McGlenen, 61, and numerous nieces and nephews.

In a tribute, his family said: “Healthworks was the making of him, even putting him through his personal training course. “He loved his job as a gym instructor and loved seeing the changes he was making to other people’s lives. Mick Killeen, pictured centre, with his sons Jack, left, and Connor, right, at his 60th birthday party.

“It is true what they say, helping others helps you.” They say his interests included visiting car boot sales and camping, especially with his sons, and loved an excuse to wear fancy dress. They added: “Mick had a wicked sense of humour and was always up for a laugh.

“He was also fond of the odd practical joke. Mick Killeen, pictured at Healthworks, as he helped support its advice sessions and courses to improve people’s wellbeing. “He was totally devoted to his sons.

“He was a kind and caring and gentle person who put other people first. “He was dedicated to Healthworks and to the people in it.” His funeral will be at the Church of Ascension in Easington Colliery on Monday, February 24, at 12.15pm with a service at Durham Crematorium for family and close friends.

A gathering will be held at Easington Southside Social Club.

His sons are keen to hear stories about their dad and see any photos of him.

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