Neighbours win awards

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THREE women from Amber Valley who help others and make their communities more positive places to live have been recognised at an awards ceremony.

Housing provider Futures Homescape celebrated those who show true community spirit at its sixth annual Good Neighbour of the Year award.

Scooping first prize and the award for Good Neighbour of the Year was Brenda Marriott, 74, from Firs Gardens, Alfreton, who was nominated for her role in bringing together residents in sheltered housing for enjoyable social events and her friendly, caring attitude. She received a Christmas hamper as a prize. Mrs Marriott said: “I’m delighted to have won. It is so nice to be appreciated.”

Joyce Rhodes, 68, was one of those to nominate Brenda.

Mrs Rhodes said: “Firs Gardens is a better place because of Brenda. She’s a very kind and caring lady.

“She organises coffee mornings and bingo and trips out. She keeps an eye on older neighbours and has time to speak to everyone. This award is very well-deserved.”

Second place went to Doreen Parkin, 71, from Parks Avenue, South Wingfield, who also arranges activities for over 60s.

She organises coach trips for a number of older residents and is renowned for her regular afternoon tea events featuring home-baked cakes and bread and butter pudding.

Eileen Painter, 59, from Heanor, won third prize.

She provides a lifeline by regularly shopping for two of her neighbours who need a helping hand and looking out for the welfare of others in her community. The nominations for Eileen also commended her cheerful personality. She even rents comedy DVDs for her neighbours to cheer them up if they’re feeling low.

Mrs Painter said: “I never expected to be nominated.

“You don’t help out because you want a thank you but it’s so touching to get one. It’s important that people look out for their neighbours.”