TODAY we talk to Jim Hewitt, who has been awarded an MBE for his work in Blackbird Leys and with the estate’s credit union.

WHAT I'M CALLED: Jim. James when people are annoyed with me. James Joseph Hewitt on official documents.

MY AGE IN YEARS: Mentally: 24; spiritually: one; economically/ fiscally: 99 and declining; according to my birth certificate: 67 WHAT I DO: I am a community worker, mostly in Blackbird Leys, where I help to run the Blackbird Leys Credit Union. I also work with the Timorese community in Oxford, as I speak one of the Timorese languages, Fataluku. I help mostly with form-filling and translation. I am also a local preacher with the Methodist Church in Oxford, and I write theology.

WHERE I LIVE: Blackbird Leys. When I first came to Oxford in 1974, I happened to visit Blackbird Leys before anyone had time to tell me what I should think about it. I fell in love with the place at once and thought it must be one of the more popular areas of Oxford, certainly one where I’d like to live. I wasn’t able to move here until 1979, but then I did, and have never regretted it.

WHO I LOVE: The Messiah Jesus, whom I’ve known all my life, but am still getting to know.

HAPPIEST YEAR: Next year. They just keep on getting better.

DARKEST MOMENT: A night in May, 1963, when I got on a train in Melbourne, Australia, to return to Perth, knowing that I would never achieve the career I had set my heart on.

PROUDEST BOAST: I’ve always been too proud to boast. It’s too risky. You get found out.

LESSONS LEARNED: Very few. I’m still learning nearly everything that matters. In fact, there’s only three things I can confidently say I’ve learnt: that Australia is the oldest country in the world (geologically speaking); that Iceland is the newest; and that the world’s most powerful nation is afraid of Nicaragua.

WORST WEAKNESS: I just love filling in questionnaires about myself.

DULLEST JOB: Filling out forms as an assistant in a benefits advice centre (but it was very necessary work).

GREATEST SHAME: A hard one this. I don’t really want to talk about some of the faults and vices I’m still wrestling with after a lifetime. Perhaps my greatest mentionable shame would be the many shortcomings of my eight-year teaching career.

LIFE-LONG HERO: Charles Dickens. When Dickens puts a pen to paper, the most incredible characters just spring to life, and I don’t think even he knew how.

OLDEST FRIEND: My oldest friend died in Todmorden, Yorkshire, a few years ago. His family are still my oldest friends.

WIDEST SMILE: When at the age of 17 I got my matriculation results. I had spent a year wrestling with the thought that I might not get the top bracket marks in every subject. I set out in trepidation one afternoon, to collect the results, but was met at the gate by a reporter from the local paper who told me I had done it.

FAVOURITE DREAM: Getting one of my books published. I have written several, of which the publishers always say: “Yes, very good. But we don’t think there’s a market for it.”

BIGGEST REGRET: That in my teens I didn’t make myself learn to dance. I love dancing, but always feel embarrassed about my inability and lack of simple know-how.