A BARNSLEY war veteran who became famous for his political campaigns and work with refugees will be posthumously awarded with a prestigious award - the likes of which have been given to Nelson Mandela.

Harry Leslie Smith wrote several books about what life was like living in the Great Depression, the Second World War and post-war austerity.

He also launched his own fundraising campaign so he could visit different refugee camps around the world to document what he saw - with the aim to find a solution to why people are living in such squalor.

On May 24, Harry’s son John will receive the Stanley H Knowles Humanitarian Award on behalf of his father.

It will be presented to him by the Ontario Public Service Employee’s Union - OPSEU - in Toronto.

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“The OPSEU contacted me to say that they would like to award my father with this award, they asked if I was available to accept it on his behalf and deliver a speech too,” John said

“It’s quite a prestigious and inclusive award and they are wanting to shine a light on what he has done.

“I’m so proud to say that he was my dad and that I got to have a really great relationship with him.

“I’ve received lots of support from the Labour party over the award and once it gets closer to the acceptance there will be many praises from other people - this is an award that Nelson Mandela got to accept so to be in that type of crowd of recipients is amazing.

“At the minute, I’m still following on from his refugee projects and fulfilling his dreams, I’m also writing a book about his and my life together over the last ten years.”

John is also currently working on setting a date to hold a memorial service in the north of England in memory of his father - he’s hoping this will either be in Bradford or Barnsley at the end of summer.

“We are going to set up a charitable institution in memory of my father,” added John.

“It will promote my dad’s values which are no austerity, proper welfare of state, the right to education, the right to decent purpose for life and nobody should have to suffer the indignities of poverty.

Harry was born and raised in Barnsley and was subject to growing up in poverty after his father became unemployed and at 11 years old Harry’s sister died of tuberculosis as there was no cure at the time, nor did his family have enough money to see a doctor.

“He had a wonderful love for his town of birth and the people in it, and that’s something that everybody knew,” John added.

“He was who he was because of where he came from.”