A CHARITY champion is helping to carry on the work of a pioneering pensioner who fought for elderly people locally and on the national stage.

Tommy 'the clown' Armstrong stepped in to hand over a £500 donation to Nell McFadden MBE on her last day in charge of Inverclyde Elderly Forum.

He hopes this will help the group carry on the good work after her tireless campaigning over a 32 year stretch came to an end.

At the age of 92 Nell has now retired from her role as chair of the forum.

Tommy said: "Nell is a marvellous woman and what she has achieved deserves recognition.

"I wanted to do something for her as she steps down.

"She has done so much for elderly people and the community."

Nell was a founding member of the Inverclyde Elderly Forum, which was the first group of its kind to give pensioners a platform and blazed a trail for other places across Scotland and the UK.

She was a driving force behind campaigns by Age Concern and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation against fuel poverty.

It was thanks the efforts of Nell and other leading activists that governments introduced new measures like the winter fuel payment.

Despite undergoing life-saving surgery and then later nearly losing her life to sepsis, Nell continued her community work.

Nell was the first public representative to sit on the Inverclyde health and social care partnership, holding NHS and social care bosses to account.

She started volunteering in the community to help her overcome her own health difficulties and it changed her life.

The special senior citizen was touched by the presentation on her final day in charge of the group she founded.

Nell said: "I really appreciate the kind donation from Tommy.

"He has done a lot of good work locally.

"It is very much appreciated."