COSY Club’s ‘Banty’ wins Pensioner of Year award

Mr Albert Smallwoods (seated, right) presents John Nash with the 2014 Pensioner of the Year award.
Mr Albert Smallwoods (seated, right) presents John Nash with the 2014 Pensioner of the Year award.

Well known community volunteer and COSY Club member, John ‘Banty’ Nash has won the 2014 Age Concern Derry ‘Pensioner of the Year’ award.

The annual awards ceremony took place in Age Concern Derry in Malvern House on the Chapel Road on Thursday evening.

John, who lives in Farland Way near Hazelbank, with his wife Margaret said not only was he shocked that he had won the competition but he couldn’t believe he received a nomination.

“When I heard I had been nominated I couldn’t believe it. It makes me so happy that a person or a group of people thought me worthy of such a nomination,” John told The Sunday Journal.

“I went to the awards ceremony with my wife and a few members of the COSY Club. When they started to announce in reverse order who had won, I thought I had no chance. The woman and man who came third and second did amazing things and I was so impressed with what people were saying about them.

“I had completely given up at that stage but when they read out my name I was in complete shock.

“The ones from the COSY Club went mental - I was delighted for them too,” he said.

John is involved in virtually every strand of community life in the Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank areas.

John is a founding member of the Springtown Horticultural and Activity Group and helped to develop the vegetable and herb garden in Shaw Court in Ballymagroarty.

John is also a prominent member of Derry male cancer support group, the Pink Panthers, and since their inception last year has worked tirelessly with the others in the group to raise awareness of male cancer.

Earlier this year, John and Margaret lost their daughter Rhondalee when she passed away at the age of 33. John told the Sunday Journal that he wanted to dedicate the award to his late daughter.

“I know if Rhondalee was still alive she would have been there on Thursday night so that’s why I want to dedicate my award to her.

“I also want to dedicate the award to all the people who nominated me and all those who are in the COSY Club.

“I have no plans to let it go to my head but I think I will enjoy it for a wee bit,” he joked.