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Wednesday, February 3, 1999 Published at 13:25 GMT


Dame Thora's a golden oldie - official

Dame Thora Hird: Following in the footsteps of Denis Thatcher

Dame Thora Hird has been named Oldie of the Year and a host of other pensioners have been honoured in two award ceremonies celebrating the more mature.

The Oldie Magazine's tongue-in-cheek awards has given its top title to actress Dame Thora, 87, who recently appeared in the comedy Dinnerladies and Alan Bennett's Talking Heads.

Help the Aged's NPI Golden Awards honoured Sir Richard Attenborough for his lifelong contribution to the film and television industry - and four other pensioners for their outstanding achievements.

'Most Inexplicable Survivor'

[ image: Bett Boothroyd: Disciplinarian of the Year]
Bett Boothroyd: Disciplinarian of the Year
Other winners of the lighthearted Oldies include the House of Commons speaker Betty Boothroyd, 69, named Disciplinarian of the Year and Sir Ludovic Kennedy, 79, celebrated as Campaigner of the Year for his stand on miscarriages of justice.

One of the more unusual awards was an honorary wooden spoon for the Most Inexplicable Survivor - given to the presenter Richard Whiteley, 55, for his 16-years spent on Channel 4's Countdown programme.

[ image: Terry Wogan: One of the judges]
Terry Wogan: One of the judges
Humphrey Lyttleton, 77, and Jimmy Young, 75, were joint winners of the Survivors of the Year prize. It was given to the two for managing to keep their Radio 4 and Radio 2 shows throughout what The Oldie called the "BBC radio holocaust" where a number of younger presenters were sacked.

Judges for the Oldies were chairman Lord Hattersley, Terry Wogan, Mavis Nicolson, Libby Purves and Richard Ingrams.

Oldie winners in past years have included actor Richard Wilson, the Two Fat Ladies and Denis Thatcher.

Outstanding achievements

[ image: Richard Attenborough: Wins a Help the Aged Golden Award]
Richard Attenborough: Wins a Help the Aged Golden Award
The Help the Aged NPI Golden Awards were presented by celebrity presenters Sir Jimmy Saville and June Whitfield.

In addition to Lord Attenborough other senior citizens were rewarded for their outstanding achievements.

They include: Akbar Alli, 76, from Ealing, for fund-raising efforts for the Central Middlesex Hospital; Doug Rufus, 86, from Rotherham, for his achievements in long-distance running; Jean Thompson, 71, from Reading, for establishing an international translation service; Audrey Jones, 67, from East Lothian, for fund raising work for breast cancer research.

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