A couple described as being “sent from heaven” have won DAMHA’s good neighbour of the year award.
DAMHA received an amazing 200 nominations for its annual award, which recognises the selfless efforts of people living in its 1,700-plus homes across the North East.
The 2014 winners were Ron and Betty Batey, of Carrside, Framwellgate Moor, Durham. They were nominated by two of their neighbours, John Moore and Janet Simpson.
Mr Moore says despite not being in their best of health themselves, this has not deterred Ron and Betty, who help him and other neighbours in their street.
He says: “Ron and Betty have been sent from heaven for me, running errands and making meals for me.
“Ron helps me when I shower as I am not steady enough on my feet and he sits with me as I get lonely, so I am delighted that he and Betty have won this award.”
Mrs Simpson added: “Both Ron and Betty have had setbacks with their own health but that hasn’t stopped them helping others, doing everything from shopping for and making meals for John through to putting bins out for other neighbours.
“They are both gems, but modest too, and they are so deserving of this award.”
Mr and Mrs Batey, who received a trophy, plaque and cheque for £150, said: “It was such a lovely surprise when we discovered we had won the award, but we really don’t think we are doing anything special. We just enjoy helping people.”
The second prize went to Bobby Edwards, of Shotton Road, Horden. He was nominated by his neighbours Margaret Smith and Robert and Elizabeth Churchill.
Mrs Smith said: “I have to go to the Sunderland eye infirmary for treatment every month and Bobby drives me despite being in poor health himself. He refuses to let me pay him and he is the kindest person I know.”
Mr and Mrs Churchill said: “Bobby does all our gardening and looks after the bins and anything else we can’t manage ourselves. He is the best person you could have as a neighbour.”
Mr Edwards, who received a plaque and a cheque for £100, said: “I am just doing my best to be a good friend and neighbour, and I don’t do it for personal gain, but it is very nice to receive this award.”
Third prize went to Patrick McManus, of Willow Court, Coxhoe. He was nominated by his neighbour Kenneth Stanworth, who said: “Pat helped me tremendously following my strokes by offering emotional and physical support for which I am truly grateful. He has a great community spirit and will always give a knock on the door to see if we need anything.”
Mr McManus, who received a plaque and a cheque for £75, said: “It was very nice of Kenneth to nominate me. What I do for him is no trouble and I am glad to be able to help him.”
Paul Mullis, DAMHA Chief Executive, said: “We had some very strong nominations this year and all of our winners are very deserving.
“It proves that community spirit and the desire to help others is very much still evident in our homes.”
This year’s awards were sponsored by Aareon UK Ltd.