MOST Volunteer of the Year nominations in the Flybe Pride in Mann awards come in for people involved in clubs and charities.
In the case of 69-year-old Douglas woman Gwen Dentith, it was simply because of how she conducts herself every day in her community.
As friend and neighbour Mickey Venn put it: ‘She’s a very kind neighbour, a very kind woman who would do anything for anyone.’
Mickey explained: ‘She looked after me when I was poorly after a heart attack. She would come into the house, wash up, hoover round. It’s a godsend when you’re ill. She is always helping people, she can’t keep still. A wonderful woman.’
While Gwen was happy to chat to the Examiner, she was dismissive of the nomination: ‘Oh, I’ll look after anyone. Mickey’s a good man. He’s a retired plumber, I’d only have to ring him for help and he’d be over. I had to keep an eye on him because his wife was at work during the day. I could just scoot round.’
Gwen lives in a former guest house in Belmont Terrace, an area that has seen a dramatic community shift over the decades.
‘It’s a good community, I’ve lived here for 47 years. I used to run the guesthouse,’ she said.
‘It has changed, along Belmont Terrace were all busy guesthouses, you knew everybody. There are only two here now, and only one of them is really still going. People couldn’t keep up with safety regulations that were coming in, it made it hard to offer the homely feel people were after.’
The former Douglas in Bloom winner added: ‘The garden is my full time job now! People always come down, friends that don’t have gardens. That’s how you get to know people. I like staying friends with people. In 47 years I’ve had people come to stay as children, and come back years later with their own children.’
It says a lot about Gwen’s character that she was quick to move the conversation away from herself and on to an issue she says is breaking her heart.
‘There are two copper beech trees on the street. They’ve been here long before me,’ she said.
‘Every year when they came into leaf bud, it would tell me it was time to start getting the house ready for the summer guests.
‘But now the trees are dying because they have been tarmacked right to the trunks for a car park. They’re not getting water.
‘They should be saved, the tarmac needs chipping off. It wouldn’t affect the car park, the area is fenced off anyway. I’m getting tearful thinking about it. If they came to cut them down, I’d climb up and not come down!’
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Weather for Isle of Man
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: South west