Luke Donovan, the chair of the Irish Network Stevenage (INS), has died aged 83.

His chairmanship saw the INS go from strength-to-strength, supporting older people in the community and putting on a vast array of events.

Luke was born in County Wexford in 1939, and moved to London in 1957. After a short time there, he relocated to Stevenage where he worked on building the country's first new town.

Throughout his career in the building trade, Luke was heavily involved in the trade unions, looking out for the welfare of everybody who worked on building sites in and around Stevenage.

He never forgot his roots in Ireland, and began organising monthly dances for the Irish community in Stevenage.

After retiring in 2002, he was then instrumental in establishing the Irish Network Stevenage, and became the charity's chair a few years afterwards.

Initially catering largely to the Irish community, its reach expanded over time to take in many other people and it became one of the most prominent charities for older people in Stevenage.

The INS put on a wide variety of social events, including bingo, tea dances, exercise classes, and visits to members of the community.

In 2019, the charity received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of the work put in by Luke and others.

When the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, Luke personally made hundreds of calls per week to check that people had the support they needed, and provide a familiar and reassuring voice on the phone. His calls were the highlight of the week for many who received them.

It wasn't just the Irish Network Stevenage that benefited from Luke's efforts - he also volunteered for Age Concern and Stevenage World Forum after his retirement.

Luke died on Friday, June 9. He is survived by his daughters, Louise and Elaine, his granddaughters, Rachel, Emma and Jessica, and his partner, Peggy Lyons.