The winners of the 2013 Churchill Awards, which recognise excellence amongst the over 65s, have been announced and the winners received their awards at a private lunch in London on Thursday March 20.
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) and Sir Neville Marriner (Music). There were three winners of the Wave FM local heroes award as voted for by the radio stations 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.
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."