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A good neighbour

A woman who tended to her neighbour after she suffered a brain haemorrhage, whilst also battling cancer herself, has won a housing association’s good neighbour of the year award.
Christine Fletcher was the overwhelming choice of judges deciding on the annual award, which recognises the selfless efforts of people living in homes owned by Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association (DAMHA).
The 57-year-old, who lives in Trimdon Grange, was nominated by a number of people, including her husband Peter, who said: “Christine takes time out every day before she goes to work to visit all our neighbours to see if they need any help.
“When one of the neigbours, Sylvia, had a fall Christine called an ambulance and kept talking to her until they came.
“Sylvia had suffered a brain haemorrhage and Christine stayed with her all night in hospital until her family arrived from Southampton. She then visited her by bus in James Cook Hospital, Middlesbrough, three times a week while she was in intensive care.
“Sylvia was eventually moved to a care home but the visits continued for eight months even though Christine was ill herself with cancer.
“I don’t know where she gets her strength and positive attitude from.”
Christine, who received a trophy, plaque and cheque for £150, is still receiving treatment for bowel cancel but is now in remission.
She said: “I have never let my health get in the way of helping others and whilst I think there are others more deserving than me, I am very proud to receive this award.
“I get up early each morning to check on our ten elderly neighbours and when Sylvia was in hospital in Middlesbrough, I would travel for an hour on the bus to see her, then an hour back to go to work in the afternoon.
“I would do that for anyone in need because we are not all as lucky to have people around us to help.”
The second prize went to Joyce Hogg, who lives in the aged miners’ homes in Marsden Road, South Shields. She was nominated by a number of her neighbours for the help she provides, including making meals, helping with medication and providing companionship. Joyce receives a plaque and cheque for £100.
Third prize went to Trevor and Adele Brooks, of Middlestone Moor, Spennymoor. They were nominated by their neighbour, Carol Sowerby, for the support they provided her following the death of her husband. Trevor and Adele receive a plaque and a cheque for £75.
Paul Mullis, DAMHA Chief Executive, said: “We had over 120 nominations this year and whilst the judging is always difficult because everyone is so deserving, we felt Christine was a very worthy winner.
“Her selfless dedication to others at a time when she had her own, serious, medical problems is so admirable.
This year’s awards were once again sponsored by Aareon UK Ltd.