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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 190

Date:- 6 March 2005

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A local woman from Litherland, Merseyside has just learnt that she has won the 'North Local Hero Award' in the Help the Aged Living Legend Annual Awards and is due to attend a showbiz awards lunch on Wednesday 30 March.

The Living Legend Awards, in association with BT, follows a national search by Help the Aged for outstanding individuals who have proved that age need not be a barrier to living life to the full. Ann Owens nominated winner Joan Bentley.

Just 3 years ago, Sefton Moss Villas in Merseyside was a pretty depressing place to live. Now, Joan Bentley and fellow residents have had their environment, and hence their quality of life, transformed. First, they formed a residents' association, then they put pressure on the council to improve the flats. Many properties have now been improved, with cladding, rewiring and the installation of central heating. The group also started a campaign for a community flat where all the residents, especially those who were disabled and unable to go out, could enjoy a social life. 

Thanks to the group's efforts, the council approved the plan, the building work was done and the residents raised money for decoration and equipment. They put in nearly 2,000 hours of unpaid work to help complete the refurbishment. Now, the social life of this small community has moved up several gears. The group organises trips, holds bingo and card sessions and 'fantastic' Christmas parties, and runs computer courses for older people. Many people have contributed to these achievements, but especially Joan Bentley, whose determination and enthusiasm has helped to bring about changes that would not previously have been thought possible.

Undoubtedly Joan has contributed well and beyond all reasonable expectations and deserves to win the 'North Local Hero Award'. Joan will attend a glittering awards lunch on Wednesday 30 March at the Dorchester Hotel in London. Celebrities attending the event will include Cilla Black, June Whitfield and Penny Smith.

Lucy Burton, Living Legends Awards organiser said:- "Help the Aged is delighted that Joan is coming to the awards to represent the North, her story only goes to show that she has spent so many years making a real difference to the lives of so many people and now is the time for the UK to celebrate her remarkable work and say thank you".

Living Legends is supported by Yours magazine, media partner for the award.

Letters to the Editor:- "Hug Quiz"

DEAR Editor, "I would like to invite your readers to take part in the first ever Hug Quiz from Help the Aged which aims to become the biggest intergenerational quiz in history. The quiz will raise funds and awareness around the Charity's new campaign, Hug, which is running in April, to help end loneliness among older people.

We live in a society where over a third of older people experience loneliness. Hug, which stands for Helping Unite Generations, aims to get the nation thinking about those older people who are less fortunate than ourselves, by helping us all recognise and appreciate the value of intergenerational relationships. I urge you to sign up and host a Hug Quiz to help raise funds and awareness around this important issue.

Throughout Hug Month in April, I would like to see both young and old people come together across the UK to either host or participate in a Hug Quiz which can be held anywhere from people's homes to schools, pubs, community centres or work places. All questions will be designed around a 'generations' theme to encourage family, friends and colleagues of all generations to unite and enjoy each other's company, whilst raising vital funds to enable older people to live more valued, involved and fulfilled lives.

The Hug Quiz is a fantastic way to get involved with Hug, and all participants will be automatically entered into a draw to win two tickets to be a member of the 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' audience with the opportunity to meet with me at the after-show party! Who could resist!

All quizzes are very easy to organise, and I've even helped produce a Hug Quiz pack which is available from Help the Aged and contains everything you need to organise a fun and entertaining event. The step by step guide is brimming with handy tips and advice as well as questions and answer sheets, balloons, posters and lots, lots more.

Please get involved in a Hug Quiz this April and help end the loneliness which blights so many older people's lives. A quiz pack can be obtained by calling the Hug hotline on 0870 770 3288, or visit the website, and simply fill in the online form or email:-   Alternatively you can write to Hug Quiz, Help the Aged Events Team, 207-221 Pentonville Road, London N1 9UZ.

I do hope readers will support the Hug campaign and host a Hug Quiz - what better way to reach out to lonely older people in need?"

Chris Tarrant, Hug Quiz Supporter, Help the Aged


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