One of Derry’s award-winning Pink Ladies brought home another prestigious trophy on Thursday when Maisie Crawford was named Age Concern’s Pensioner of the Year.
Maisie, originally from Foyle Road but now living in Nelson Drive, was nominated for the Pensioner of the Year awards by her fellow Pink Ladies - despite only having worked with the local campaigning charity for less than a year. The Perpetual Cup was presented to Maisie by last year’s Pensioner of the Year, Don O’ Doherty.
However, the accolade came as something of a surprise for Maisie Crawford.
“I had no idea about the awards - I only found out the day before that I was even nominated,” says the sprightly 70-year-old. “The Pink Ladies nominated me, even though I’ve only been a member since May this year. When they were campaigning for the cancer centre here in the North West, I spoke at Stormont and spoke in Guildhall Square as I too have been through radiotherapy, and that’s how I became involved really. I still can’t believe they nominated me at all - I’m over the moon!
“The Pink Ladies are a wonderful bunch of people. Thank God we were successful in the campaign and now the new cancer centre should be up and operational by 2016, which will be a great thing for the people of this area - a Godsend. It was a great fight and I really enjoyed being a part of it all.”
With the award ceremony just days ago, Maisie is still on a high about being an award-winning OAP.
“I just can’t express how happy I was to have won,” she says. “The award was for the fight and I was just so honoured and so humbled that they thought to nominate me. To be honest, I’m just very touched by the whole thing.”
Maisie’s work with the Pink Ladies is only just beginning, now that the local charity has opened a new branch in the Waterside. “The Pink Ladies are expanding and we’ll now be holding meetings in the new Community Flats in Sperrin Park on the 2nd Monday of each month. I think having a Waterside branch is very important, there are an awful lot of people out there in need, even if it’s just for a listening ear sometimes.”
“As Pensioner of the Year, I intend to do what I can for pensioners now, as regards heating, care and more social issues, I intend to pursue these issues vigorously. We have to keep pensioners happy, as much as keeping them warm and fed!”
Now in it’s 24th year, Age Concern Derry hosted its Annual Gala Award evening at Malvern House, Chapel Road. Besides Maisie’s win, Mr Robert Dunseath, Chairperson of Age Concern Derry presented three highly recommended awards to Betty Dunn, John McCarron and Rose McCormick.