Three south coast residents have been awarded ‘local heroes’ in the 2013 Churchill Awards founded by Churchill Retirement Living which recognises excellence amongst the over 65s.

The three winners of the Wave 105 local hero award as voted for by the radio station’s listeners were Ted Taylor, Gillian Watts and Ron Halls. They received their awards at a private lunch in London on Thursday March 20.

Ted Taylor, 76 was 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.

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.

Ron Halls from Bognor Regis was awarded 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.

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

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.”

The full list of winners for 2013 include well known personalities Baroness Trumpington (politics), Sir Alex Ferguson (sport), Deborah Moggach (literature), John Byrne (art), Sir Timothy Clark (business), Nicholas Parsons (TV and radio), Dame Helen Mirren (stage and screen), Peter Neal (science and environment) and Sir Neville Marriner (music).