Gardening Great Granny Dena Murphy is certainly no stranger to making things bloom on her north Manchester allotment.

And now she has just won a Pride of Britain Award not only for that flower power – but the work she does in the community – including growing enough fruit and veg to regularly feed a lunch club; and for helping young former offenders back onto the right path.

Sprightly Dena – dubbed ‘the Denamo’ – is also an ambassador the for the city’s Age Friendly work and how that can help to create a healthier Manchester.

She attributes her strong sense of social duty to her parents and her father in particular: “Being community minded is just part of my make-up”, she says. “I got on really well with my Dad as the only girl in the family. When he used to ask me which hand I wrote with, I’d say my right. And he’d always have the same reply: ‘Well that leaves you with your left to help someone else.’

“Another thing he always said when we were out was: ‘That man you see over there is your brother; that woman you see over the road is your sister. No matter who they are they are all your brothers and sisters and we all bleed’.”

As a former nurse Dena more than knows the value of hearty eating and is such a firm believer in wholesome food, she even created a ‘Manchester Menu’ for older people last year, which involves a simple soup that can also be a casserole

Dena is also part of NEPHRA, a good neighbours scheme in New Moston and last year she estimated that they did around 80 visits a month to help people in their homes with shopping, cleaning, washing and even cooking.

“That extra care and support is really important to people when they are going through something bad, illness or feeling lonely. It’s what being a good neighbour really means,” says Dena.

“I’d urge everyone to get involved with their community. It’s not just good for the people you help – it definitely keeps you young too!”


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