The 87-year-old received a prestigious Pride of Britain award from the Strictly Come Dancing team at a star-studded ceremony in Central London, for her work running the Oxford Community Soup Kitchen (OCSK).
Icolyn, a member of the Church of God of Prophecy, started the OSCK 28 years ago, after seeing a homeless man rummaging through street bins for food in her home town, Oxford. Moved with compassion, she decided to put her considerable culinary skills to good use and cook meals for the homeless and vulnerable in Oxford.
To date, Icolyn has cooked over 60,000 meals, and OSCK, which is now a charity called The Icolyn Smith Foundation, also distributes sleeping bags, clothes and shoes to the homeless.
Icolyn says she feels “wonderful” being recognised for her work. And she had this advice for retirees: “We might reach a certain age in life, and feel the children have grown up, (but you need to) find something else to do to occupy your time. To just retire and sit down, it does no one any good.”
And she’s also grateful to God for her award. “With all these things that have happened in my life, I give thanks to God. It’s only Him who could take me through and give me the strength to go on.”