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Belfast City Council’s Older Volunteer of the Year

11 December 2013

An 84-year-old man who campaigns for the rights of seniors has been named as Belfast City Council’s Older Volunteer of the Year.

Older Volunteer of the YearMalachy Turley, a volunteer with the West Belfast 50+Forum and South Link Day Centre is kept busy advocating for seniors in North and West Belfast.

In addition he was instrumental in setting up a residential hostel for those with alcohol related problems and was the oldest volunteer at this year’s World Police and Fire Games where he looked after golf participants.

Congratulating him on his success at a special awards ceremony in the City Hall recently, Lord Mayor, Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: “This award is to highlight the contribution that older people provide in a society that too often writes them off, ignoring their service and experience.

“You are never too old to do something for your community as you have demonstrated; you work not only for people in Northern Ireland but also those further afield such as the leper community in India and the orphans for whom you helped build an orphanage.

“The person who nominated you, Deirdre Murphy, says you always have a skip in your step and research has shown us that volunteering really does have physical and mental benefits for older people. You are a wonderful example to us all so congratulations on your award,” said the Lord Mayor.

This year the council also awarded a runner up award to Mary Lagan (66) a volunteer with ‘Kin Together’ Support Group which supports grandparents who are raising grandchildren.

Jacqueline Williamson from Kinship Care NI who nominated her said: “Mary is a kind and lovely lady. She is friendly, hardworking and passionate about helping other people.”

Councillor Bernie Kelly, Chair of the council’s All-Party Reference Group for Older People, said the standard of entries for the award was exceptionally high and wide ranging.

“It showed older people are offering valuable service across the community and are valued for the work they do. It is great to see them being honoured at today’s ceremony,” she added.

The Older Volunteer Award scheme is supported by Volunteer Now through The Atlantic Philanthropies.