of the year

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - 24 - RUN­NER UP - JAMES SMITH

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:

BEN DAVIS

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