There were three Fermanagh recipients in the Queen’s New Year Honours list. Patricia Donald and Colin Harding received Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)while Billy Cross received the Queen’s Police Medal.

Patricia Donald has spent a lifetime dedicated to helping others, first as a nurse and since her retirement as an advocate for the elderly for which she received the honour of a MBE.

Born in Dublin and raised in Cork Patricia worked in nursing across the western area and settled in Enniskillen.

Since her retirement Patricia has been working tirelessly on behalf of older people. Part of the elderly community herself, there is no sign that Patricia is slowing down just yet.

“I am 80, but a good 80,” she says.

Patricia is the current chairperson of South West Age Partnership (SWAP), which is a sub-regional group of Age NI.

Passionate about the rights of the elderly Patricia admitted to being “shocked” when she received notification that she was to receive an OBE.

“Well, you never do this work for recognition. That is not why you get in to it. But I was shocked and greatly honoured and absolutely thrilled.”

Patricia has also lobbied politicians during her time as part of the Age Sector Platform, which is an organisation that operates right across the province.

“I am political but not party political. The way I see it a poor pensioner is a poor pensioner.”

Patricia wanted to pay tribute to Paddy Joe McClean, from the Beragh area in County Tyrone.

“He was the originally behind the Senior Citizen’s Consortium and did an awful lot of work. I along with others inherited the good work from Paddy Joe,” she said.

That good work is set to continue with no sign of Patricia ceasing in her advocacy.

“It is very important that older people have their say. Sometimes older people don’t want to be a burden on people, they don’t want to be a bother and it is important that issues are highlighted,” she said before adding”

“Loneliness is a real problem. Families grow up and move away and people can be left very isolated. And it is important that everything is done to try and help.”

Other local people to be honoured in the New Year Honours list included: Colin Harding Staff Officer, Enniskillen Jobs and Benefits Office, Northern Ireland Executive, who received a MBE For services to the community in Northern Ireland, and Detective Inspector Billy Cross who received the Queen’s Police Medal.