The 29th Older People North West (Age Concern) Pensioner of the Year,’ has been won by Noreen Arnold who was nominated by Ballymagroarty Hazelbank Community Partnership.
Maeve McLaughlin, Community Engagement Officer with Ballymagroaty Hazelbank Community Partnership described Noreen as being “a truly genuine selfless woman”.
Noreen was nominated for the award for her work in establishing the Ballymagroarty Women’s Group, addressing mental health issues, role as a Board Member with the Ballymagroarty Community Association and Festival Committee. Noreen has also worked tirelessly fundraising for local charities.
At the Gala Evening held at Malvern House on Thursday night, Mr Roger O’Doherty, Secretary of Older People North West (Age Concern) said the organisation believed that the contribution of older people should be a crucial part of any community’s social and economic life.
“The experience, skills and talents of older people shouldn’t be ignored and wasted,” he said. “It was for these reasons that the local organisation promoted the Pensioner of the Year Award.”
“That it is crucial in a healthy society that older people should be made to feel that they are vital facets of that society and that their opinions are valued and their experiences of life sought after and every opportunity should be taken to demonstrate this to ‘older people.’
Mr. O’Doherty added: “we believe that this award is a meaningful way to show to older people that the contributions that many of them have made and are making to their communities and their involvement in so many worth-while projects in the city is welcomed, recognised and acknowledged.”
The Award was presented by the President of Older People North West (Age Concern), Albert Smallwoods and the 2015 Pensioner of the Year Tommy Cooke.
David McLaughlin also presented the winner with a prize sponsored by BT.
A Highly Commended award was presented to Mrs May Burton, who was nominated by CAW Nelson Drive Action Group for her continuous work with the Luncheon Club, organising social events for older people and also her instrumental role in forming the Harmony Singers Choir.
The organisation also thanked BT and The Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town for their continued sponsorship of the event.