How great-grandmother saved lunch club from closure

Best of Wearside entry, Mrs Millie Tate (middle).'From left residents Margaret Thompson, Norman Rain and Lilian Cook
Best of Wearside entry, Mrs Millie Tate (middle).'From left residents Margaret Thompson, Norman Rain and Lilian Cook
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Such a hero. That’s Millie Tate, who saved a luncheon club from closure.

The 87-year-old spends every Monday, Wednesday and Friday running the club at Gilwood Court sheltered accommodation in Penshaw.

Best of Wearside entry, Mrs Millie Tate (L) with resident Lilian Cook

Best of Wearside entry, Mrs Millie Tate (L) with resident Lilian Cook

The great-grandmother of one has been a resident herself at Gilwood for two years and uses a walker to help her cope with her daily pains.

But she stepped in to run the club when ill health forced the previous volunteers to quit.

A search to find a replacement looked set to end without success and the club was on the verge of folding – until Millie intervened.

Scheme manager Margaret Graham said: “We have had a luncheon club for years but it was going to have to stop. It was a big shame, because some of the residents rely on it.

Best of Wearside entry, Mrs Millie Tate

Best of Wearside entry, Mrs Millie Tate

“Mrs Tate has done a brilliant job. We are really grateful for her help.

“She is the centre of the community.”

But reluctant hero Millie, a retired Durham County Council clerk, played down her involvement and said it was an honour to help. “I like having a laugh,” she told the Echo. “I am not saying I am as bright as a button every day but I do like to get up and about.”

Millie is a mother of two, grandmother of one and has just become a great-grandmother for the first time.

Margaret said: “She helps up to 18 people at the luncheon club and that includes members of the community who come in.”

Millie becomes our latest nomination for this year’s Best of Wearside Awards but we want many more. Perhaps it’s the unassuming next door neighbour who spends their spare time making a difference in their community.

Or it may be the reluctant hero who has risked their own safety to help others.

We know there are heroes galore out there who are worthy of awards. Tell us all about them.

This year, the competition is being held in association with Vantec Europe Limited. To help us in our quest, we have also been backed by some fantastic category sponsors.

They are Calsonic, Gentoo, Martinos, TWR and UK Asbestos and we thank them all for their fantastic backing.

From now until the deadline of Monday, November 2, we will be looking for the very best in our communities.

•To nominate your own personal favourite, fill in the nomination form on this page or visitjpne-events.co.uk.