Golden oldies are shortlisted to win awards

Christine Gibson. Picture by Jane Coltman
Christine Gibson. Picture by Jane Coltman

Two north Northumberland pensioners are in the running to win prestigious awards after being nominated by neighbours.

Christine Gibson and Penny Bingham have been shortlisted for the Happy Living Awards, which are run by Anchor, which is England’s largest not-for-profit care and housing provider.

Christine, who lives at Anchor’s St Pauls Court, in Prudhoe Street, Alnwick, is up for a prize in the Green Fingered Customer category, while Penny, a resident at Anchor’s West Court, in West Street, Amble, has been shortlisted for the Grandparent of the Year award.

Green-fingered Christine was nominated by neighbours for her hard work in the communal gardens. The horticultural lover, who has lived at St Paul’s Court for eight years, is thrilled to be in with a chance of winning the award.

She said: “I am over the moon to be up for this award. I love gardening as it keeps me fit and it’s great to see others getting enjoyment from our communal gardens.”

St Paul’s was judged number one retirement complex in this year’s Alnwick in Bloom competition, and the Royal Horticultural Society with Northumbria in Bloom awarded it a grade of Outstanding Level 5 in 2014.

Joan Brown, Anchor’s housing scheme manager, said: “Chris has transformed the garden into a haven for everyone living here. She deserves recognition for all that hard work.

“Once, the garden was just lots of grass, bushes and a few sad plants – now it is full of colourful displays all seasons of the year, and it’s all thanks to Chris.”

Penny was nominated by her neighbours for always putting her family first.

She said: “I am over the moon to be up for this award. I love my family; they keep me young. It gives me great pleasure when I can help them out and see smiles on their faces.”

Neighbour Anita Watson, who nominated Penny, said: “She is a very caring grandmother to two beautiful girls. She has them after school most days and takes great care of them, helping with their activities and introducing them to everyone. She also shares looking after her son’s dog, Billy.

“She also makes scones for her church and West Court events like cake sales. She is an all-round lovely, caring person.”

Almost 300 nominations were sent in for the Happy Living Awards, which consists of six categories. A customer panel will judge those shortlisted and the winners will be announced this month.