The winners of the 2013 Churchill Awards, which recognise excellence amongst the over 65s, have been announced.

The Churchill Awards have been created, by Churchill Retirement Living, to demonstrate that older people still have a significant role to play in British society and they should be celebrated for their achievements. The Awards recognise specific achievements made by individuals in 2013 and were decided upon by a panel of expert judges including Esther Rantzen and Chairman of the CBI, Sir Roger Carr.

The full list of winners for 2013 is Baroness Trumpington (Politics), Sir Alex Ferguson (Sport), Deborah Moggach (Literature), John Byrne (Art), Sir Timothy Clark (Business), Nicholas Parsons (TV & Radio), Dame Helen Mirren (Stage & Screen), Peter Neal (Science & Environment) andSir Neville Marriner (Music). There were three winners of the Wave 105 local heroes award as voted for by the radio station’s listeners: 76 year old Ted Taylor from Bournemouth, Gillian Watts who in her 70’s still runs the Chandlers Ford Karate Club and Ron Halls of Pagham in West Sussex.

Ted Taylor has been acknowledged for his achievements in supporting local people in the West Howe and Kinson area of Bournemouth. He is a familiar face locally and since the 1960’s has championed youth and community work as well as inspired others to pursue work voluntarily or professionally which in turn supports the local community.

In her 70’s Gillian Watts holds a third Dan karate black belt and is known in the community as a karate expert, having taught three sessions a week for more than 20 years. Gillian currently runs the Chandlers Ford Karate Club, which has members ranging from the age of seven upwards, and in recognition of the support, fitness and discipline she has provided to many people over the years, she has been given the titled of ‘local hero’.

Ron Halls from Bognor Regis has also been awarded with the local hero award for his work in running the Pagham Chestnut Club.  The club meets once a fortnight and is exclusively for mature members in this area, with Ron organising a varied programme of activities for members to enjoy including musical events, bingo, afternoon teas and mini-breaks.  In addition to his work with the Pagham Chestnut Club, Ron also arranges monthly rambles for local residents.

All winners will come together at a private lunch in London on March 20 to receive their awards. 

Once again the Churchill Awards has unearthed some great stories behind a number of the winners. Sir Alex Ferguson’s success with Manchester United is well documented but fellow Glaswegian John Byrne picked up the award for Contribution to Art because in 2013, as one of Scotland’s leading artists, he decided to sell some of his work cut-price as part of an experiment to help young people develop an interest in art. As he himself unable to afford any works of art when he was studying at Glasgow School of Art, he is now offering a small selection of his work to young art students for under £200 for a small painting.

The Literature Award went to Deborah Moggach, who is best known for writing the book on which the award-winning film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is based, but who particularly caught the judges eye for the way she campaigns for a more positive and realistic portrayal of older people within the arts.

With three winners over 89 years old, this year’s awards have certainly managed to prove that age is no barrier to excellence. Baroness Trumpington, Nicholas Parsons and Sir Neville Marriner all continue to work at the very highest echelon of their chosen profession and provide role models for old and young alike.

Spencer McCarthy, Chairman and Group Managing Director of Churchill Retirement Living and the driving force behind the awards, explains why older people remain vital to our society:

“It is not just our most loved actors and actresses that remain at the peak of their powers well into their seventies, increasingly the over 65s play an important role in all realms of society – in politics, art,  and championing the environment older people are still at the forefront  of excellence in their field.

“As a group the older generation still has an awful lot to contribute to society and we have created the Churchill Awards specifically to honour and recognise that contribution.”