of the year
JAMES made it into the final shortlist for this award for the help he gives his family and others, for his positive attitude to life and for how active he is, despite being 91.
He was nominated by his daughter Gillian Willerton (52) who describes him as her “bestest friend and father”.
James, a retired post office worker from Dogsthorpe, has a large family - five daughters, 20 grandchildren, 34 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.
Gillian said: “He supports us all in whatever we do, and tries to equally give us advice and love.”
Despite his age, James is an active, independent man.
Gillian said: “As long as he can walk, he will do it. Two years ago he was on my shed roof felting it for me, as he wanted to do it so I let him.”
James believes it is important to be active and keep busy.
He said: “Now I’m 91 I don’t want to be chair or bed ridden. I did break my hip and they told me to keep active.”
James is a keen painter, although Gillian said he is very modest about it.
“He thinks his paintings are rubbish, but I think they’re great,” she said.
Gillian said her dad’s kindness also extends to others, not just his family. “He goes to the club over the road and supports them, he calls the bingo for them,” she said. “If anyone was struggling in the street, for example with shopping, he would help carry it.”
Such kindness is rewarded with popularity.
“Everyone who meets him falls in love with his cheeky personality,” Gillian said. “He’s cheeky, charming, witty and fun to be with - I’m so proud to be his daughter.
“There isn’t a bad thing about him. He’s the nicest, kindest, most gentle man around - one in a million.”
“ONE IN A MILLION”: James Smith with daughter Gillian Willerton. (METP-17-06-10BD503) Picture: