Wellingborough octogenarian honoured for inspiring others at awards night

An octogenarian who was up for the challenge of an indoor skydive and super car driving experience has been recognised for the inspiration she provides to others.

All the winners
All the winners

Golden Years held its first winter ball and awards night at Overstone Golf Club on Friday.

It was a celebration of all that the group has achieved since it was set up just over a year ago to tackle loneliness and isolation among the elderly in Wellingborough.

Meg with Freda

The event was sponsored by Rutherfords in Wellingborough and co-hosted by group founder Meg Neilan and John Rose from BBC Northampton.

Meg said: “It was a fabulous night with members of the group and their families to award and celebrate individual achievements and contributions.

“The big award of the year went to Freda Richards for being ‘Inspiration of the Year’ following her extraordinary achievements of completing an indoor skydive, ice-skating, roller disco and super car driving experience at Rockingham Speedway.

“This was a special night that meant a huge amount to me personally as I am incredibly proud of every individual for being their amazing selves and making the group as wonderful as it is.

Another of the winners from the night

“They each bring something unique to the group, which when all put together creates the most special atmosphere.

“Golden Years represents an extended family which is something none of us could have dreamed of.”

As well as Freda’s award, Marlene Forster won the determination award and other members were recognised with an achievement award for participating in an extraordinary activity such as the indoor skydive, hot lap rally race and red dragon experience.

Golden Years was set up just over a year ago with the aim of giving elderly people the chance to take part in a range of social groups and activities to reduce loneliness and isolation.

Another winner from the event

It runs a weekly friendship group as well as excursions and events each week for older people to participate in and enjoy new experiences.

Since the group’s launch, members have enjoyed an indoor skydive, cocktail making, a roller disco, supercar driving and hot lap experience at Rockingham Speedway, and a trip to Ascot.

Golden Years has more than 20 regular members, although there are more on the books who attend events during the year.

The age range is 65 up to 90, with most people in their late 70s or early 80s.