True friend is crowned our top neighbour

Betty Taylor (left) with Jackie Ivory (right)
Betty Taylor (left) with Jackie Ivory (right)

A kind-hearted woman from Aspull has been crowned Wigan’s best Good Neighbour.

Betty Taylor was nominated for Age UK Wigan Borough’s Good Neighbour award by her friend of 52 years, Jackie Ivory.

The 73-year-old was voted the winner by a panel of independent judges’ due to how she looks out for the elderly people in their community by running a social group – Golden Circle – for more than 20 years in Aspull Methodist Church. Betty, who is married to Brian, and has two children and two grandchildren, said: “I really don’t like a fuss, so I was shocked to get this award.

“I just like to get on and do things. I decided to set up the group with my sister Audrey when I had finished work about 20 years ago and the new church building had just been built.

“I wanted to make sure older people had somewhere to meet and socialise, and we now have members in their 60s all the way up to their 90s.”

The group, which has more than 50 members, is run weekly by Betty with support from friends every Thursday at the church, between 2pm and 3.30pm, as well as a day trip every month.

The group includes exercise and having a cup of tea and a chat.

Flowers are given on birthdays and anniversaries are celebrated, as well as an annual Christmas party.

Jackie, 72, added: “Betty is an amazing person but does not like to shout about it. She has been running the Golden Circle for so long and it is a lifeline to some older people in our community – who would otherwise not see anyone all week.

“People appreciate the group so much and I am delighted Betty has been recognised for her hard work. We live in a lovely community, which is made so much better thanks to people like Betty.”

Both Betty and Jackie will now receive a £25 high street voucher from Age UK Wigan Borough.

Its chief officer John McArdle said: “It has been such a pleasure to read all about the wonderful people who were nominated for the Good Neighbour competition. It is heart-warming that so many people are doing wonderful things for each other in our community.

“I would like to say a huge congratulations to Betty, a very well deserved winner.”