A Newcastle pensioner has been shortlisted for an Extraordinary Talent award. Mary MacDonald, 91, who lives at Anchor’s Sandyford Park in Jesmond, was nominated by neighbours for her theatrical talents.

Almost 300 nominations were sent in for the Happy Living Awards run by Anchor, England’s largest not-for-profit care and housing provider. The awards were launched in August with six categories: Green Fingered Customer, Best Neighbour, Extraordinary Talent, Grandparent of the Year, Community Champion and Best Pet.

Mary MacDonald, who has lived at Sandyford Park for nine years, is thrilled to be shortlisted for the Extraordinary Talent Award. She said: “I am over the moon to have been nominated. Just because we are of an older generation doesn’t mean we don’t have fun and enjoy creative hobbies.”

Anchor’s housing scheme manager Glynis Fielding, who is impressed by Mary’s talents, said: “An actor and stage director at the age of 91, Mary is our star.

“She organises theatre outings every month, which has really helped some residents combat loneliness. She also performs poetry readings at numerous events.

“Mary deserves to win because she really brightens up Sandyford Park. She is very humble and doesn’t think it’s anything special, but I’m very impressed.”

A customer panel will be coming together later this month to judge those shortlisted, and winners of the six categories will be announced in December.

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