Golden Age fair commemorates its founding ‘father’ Mac Cotterell

Julie Randall, community support officer at FDC, with the banner

Julie Randall, community support officer at FDC, with the banner - Credit: Archant

The banner greeting visitors to the Golden Age Fair spelt out the special significance of the day and the event.

“In Memory of Councillor Mac Cotterell MBE, the founder of the Golden Age concept,” it said.

“He will be remembered for his commitment to improving the quality of life for people living in rural areas and for his dedication to supporting older people in Fenland through the Golden Age project. He leaves a tremendous legacy.”

The fair, held at Tydd St Giles community centre coincided with the councillor’s funeral. Its success underlined the value of the project he founded a decade ago.

Thirty-five organisations offering a huge range of services for the over-60s had stalls and more than 130 visitors came along.

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Steve Garratt, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for Golden Age, visited the fair after attending Mr Cotterell’s funeral.

He said: “It was a fitting tribute to Mac and a special celebration of his life and work.

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“I did the rounds and spoke to all the stallholders. Every single one was delighted to be involved with Golden Age and said they had made a lot of useful contacts with other organisations as well as being able to help individual residents there on the day.

“We had fantastic support from the parish council and the local Women’s Institute, who laid on a great spread for everyone.”

Twenty-six people were given mini-health checks, with a number being referred on to Mytime Active’s health trainers who work in local surgeries.

The New Horizons bus was also there, with staff from the Fenland District Council, the Citizens Advice Bureau and Roddons offering tips on how to save money.

One of the day’s most popular activities was New Age Kurling, with people from three villages - Tydd St Giles, Newton and Elm – saying they want to start up teams as a result.

The Golden Age team are now looking into promoting the game more widely across the district. That, too, would be a fitting tribute to Mr Cotterell – it was one of his dreams to start a Golden Age over-60s league.

Mr Cotterell died last month, aged 81. He joined Fenland Council as the member for Elm Ward in 1979. He remained on it until his death and at various times he held all the major posts.

He was chairman of the council from 1987 to 1990, when he took over as leader, a post he held twice - first from 1990 to 1995 and then again from 1998 to 2001.

He described starting the Golden Age fairs as one of his greatest achievements: the nationally recognised scheme has provided advice and practical help to many thousands of older people throughout the district.

He also played a leading part in the revitalisation of the Port of Wisbech.

He was awarded the MBE by the Queen in 2006 in recognition of his outstanding service to the community - something he described then as “the proudest moment of my life”.

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