AN inspirational senior citizen who gave older people a voice is finally retiring - at the age of 92.

Nell McFadden, founder member of Inverclyde Elderly Forum, is stepping down after 32 years at its helm.

The champion for pensioners' rights feels the time is right due to a string of heath issues including failing eyesight.

The great-grandmother said: "It's been my life and I am absolutely devastated to give it up.

"I've had a great time but I've got to the stage that I have to be sensible.

"I've had a lot of illnesses and had sepsis twice.

"I've done my bit and have to admit that I've done as much as I can."

Nell has been living in Belleaire care home for more than a year and is being well supported by her daughter Janice and son Robert who live locally.

She said: "I didn't expect to live to this age, or to achieve what I have achieved."

In her role as the area's older people's champion, Nell has travelled all over the world including Sweden, Holland, Denmark and France and throughout the UK.

She's rubbed shoulders with actors, celebrities and politicians and, in 2002, she received an MBE from the Queen.

Nell said: "I've met such a lot of lovely people.

"I met Roger Moore and his wife, and Tony Blair's wife Cherie and the actress Liz Smith who played the grandmother in the Royle Family."

Nell says she's made a lot of friends through the elderly forum and hopes she has made a difference.

She said: "People listen to older people now - they didn't back then - we were just old fogeys.

"I hoped I've helped people and done something that was worthwhile.

"I hope I've given people the incentive go out and do things for their community and make the best of what they have - to get involved, even if it is going out for a walk, or for a bus run to the garden centre."

Janice, 61, said: "The things mum has achieved are out of this world.

"She is very special and helped put the concerns of elderly people to the forefront.

"She is an inspiration."

Robert, 67, said: "She's done everything she possibly could for older people and if it wasn't for her the elderly forum would have packed up long ago."

But modest Nell insists it is very much a team effort and she wants to thank secretary Margaret Tait for stepping in when she was needed.

She said: "I can't thank Margaret enough."

Nell also paid tribute to her family.

Blessed with three sons and a daughter, her son Colin, 56, now lives down south and sadly her other son John passed away six years ago.

She said: "I have enjoyed my life and my family, they have been very supportive of me.

"I rely on my family more than I would like to.

"I would like to see a group set up to take elderly people who can't get out of their house or care home out for the day, even if it is just once a week."