Northampton heroes next door win neighbour thank-you awards

Rose Agar and Maggie Kirton were both honoured with an award at the theatre this week, as voted for by their neighbours.
Rose Agar and Maggie Kirton were both honoured with an award at the theatre this week, as voted for by their neighbours.

Council house tenants nominated by their neighbours for going the extra mile in their community have this week been honoured at an awards ceremony.

Winners at the Community Awards Event include Maggie Kirton, who took the ‘Great Neighbour’ title, and Rose Agarm who took home the ‘Community Champion’ award at the special ceremony at Royal and Derngate Theatre on Tuesday.

The awards marked the first event of its kind, hosted by Northampton Partnership Homes, which recognised people who go above and beyond to support their neighbours and communities.

Saram Passam, one of the judges in the awards process and volunteer manager at Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire, said: “It is great to be able to recognise these people who do so much in our community.

“I think it is really important to celebrate these awards and let people know how much their efforts are appreciated.

“Volunteering has such a positive impact in the community”.

Maggie and Rose beat 12 nominees to pick up their award.

12 neighbourhood heroes were nominated for the two awards.

12 neighbourhood heroes were nominated for the two awards.

Other nominees included Ian Knight who helped brighten up the communal garden in Spring Boroughs, Emma Whyte, who is the founder of the Just Enough - Real Junk Food Cafe, and Leigh Evelyn, aka Bboy Swifty, who set up a charitable organisation called “Old to tha new Productions” and runs a competition called ‘Break the Shire’ with local schools.

Dave Pickard, director of operations at Northampton Partnership Homes said: “This is our first year hosting this type of awards, and I think they were enjoyed by all.

“Social housing has such a variety of people and it is lovely to recognise people doing good things in their community”.

Maggie praised for helping her neighbours:

Over the last 12 years, amazing Maggie Kirton, 64, of Eleonore House in Eastfield, has been fundamental in hosting social activities for residents, including bingo and singalong nights at the older persons housing scheme.

At the Northampton Partnership Homes Hero Awards 2018, she beat nine nominees to win the ‘Great Neighbour’ accolade, as voted for by her neighbours.

“I think it’s a case of we all muck in - it’s lovely,” she said.

“It’s a family, we all look after everyone else. There’s no rota on it.”

Maggie, who is enjoying her retirement, looked after one of her relatives at Eleonore House for 13 years, and after her husband died, she asked for a flat of her own there.

Now she helps with coffee mornings, fish and chips suppers, popping to the shops for her neighbours and checking on the other tenants if they are wheelchair bound and struggle to get out of their flats.

The former care assistant of 40 years said it was her way of life.

Rose praised for dedicating time to clubs:

Rose Agar, of Spencer, has been treasurer at two Northampton community clubs for more than ten years and won the ‘Community Champion Award’.

Rose provides a space at Dallington Diamonds and Kings Heath over 50s for older people in the community to get out of the house.
The 85-year-old organises arts and crafts, morning exercise, flower arranging, and she puts on day trips too. She said: “It keeps me going, it gives me something to get up for in the morning.

“It makes me feel young. I don’t feel 85 – it keeps the brain going all the time.”

Thirteen years ago - when Rose lived in the Dominican Republic - she had a nasty accident and was told she would never walk again.

“I taught myself to walk again – from there on I just carried on - life is for living,” she said.

In a thank you speech, she attributed her hard work to her dad. “I am a workaholic, my dad was a workaholic and you don’t get anything out of this life unless you work hard for it.”