Older People North West (AGE Concern) have commenced the search for this year’s Pensioner of the Year.

The award which first started rewarding and acknowledging the work of older people in the local community in 1987 is now in its 30th year and still marking the great work of local older people.

The first winner of the award was Jimmy Duffy, who was well known in the City because of his tremendous contribution to the theatrical, musical and sporting life of the City. The standards that he set have in many ways been the gauge by which the award is judged. Since this, many older people in various fields of life have won the award, all of them making noteworthy contributions in their own unique way to their community and to society in general.

Older People North West are encouraging people to acknowledge the work and value of older individuals in local communities and nominate an older person for this award.

A spokesperson for the organisation said “Older people play a valuable role in our community, through volunteering work, caring roles and the experience and wisdom they share. It is vital that these contributions are recognised and appreciated and the Pensioner of the Year Award offers us the opportunity to properly celebrate older people in our community.”

2016 Pensioner of the Year Noreen Arnold commented “I was both shocked and honoured to receive this award. It gave me increased confidence and clout to be an ambassador for mental health, and the impetus and authority to get out around communities and empower others on this issue”.

Nominating is easy! Simply request a form from Older People North West, Malvern House, Chapel Road, or email [email protected]olderpeoplenorthwest.org.

On the nomination form provide details of the nominee and the reason why you feel they are worthy of this prestigious award. All nominees must be over the age of 60 and live in the Derry area. Nominations can be made by anyone- organisations, groups or individuals. Completed nomination forms must be returned by Tuesday 7th November.

Each nomination form received is carefully assessed by an independent panel of judges with no association with Older People North West. Making a judgement and selecting a winner as always, proves to be a difficult task as the standard of nominations is always high. The following are examples of recognition;

·         Helping people who are disadvantaged by age, physical/ mental disability, illness or inequality.

·         Helping people who feel lonely or socially excluded to integrate into society.

·         Helping their community by contributing to the development or improvement of local facilities.

·         Helping to improve the environment for the benefit of all including community gardens.

·         Helping to campaign to raise funds for worthwhile causes.

·         Organising or assisting with projects to help improve the quality of life for other people.

·         Helping those less fortunate than themselves on a regular basis.

·         Helping out in local community centres/ organisations.

This year’s competition is supported by the Abbey Hotel in Donegal Town. The winner will be announced at a GALA evening on Thursday 16th November at Malvern House. For further information please telephone 028 71 347478.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Derry Now editorial team on 028 7129 6600 for Derry City stories Or 028 7774 3970 for County Derry stories. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.