A CHANDLER'S Ford resident has been nominated for a Daily Echo Community Stars award - for her dedication to keeping her fellow pensioners happy and cared for.

Iris Thomas, 86, has filled her retirement with helping fellow senior citizens who may feel lonely.

She has been the life and soul of the over-60s group at the Sunshine Senior Citizen Club in Chandler’s Ford where she lives.

When she retired in 1988 Iris and her husband Ken became part of the group and after years of working as the treasurer for the Sunshine group in the Age Concern Hall in Brownhill Road, she eventually became the chairman.

When she first took on the position they had just £500 in the bank but Iris managed to raise more than £10,000 in a year for the club to keep running.

The money Iris raised was enough to take the group members on monthly trips, provide entertainment like cream teas, Christmas and Easter lunches, birthday parties and a Sunday lunch club where she cooks for up to 30 people.

In 2011 Ken became ill and Iris started to let go of her group responsibilities to care for him until he died in November last year.

She decided to fully retire from her work at the Sunshine Senior Club but has kept busy. She has visited her daughter in Australia, attends knitting and bingo clubs and is a part of the Salvation Army and Velmore Community Centre groups.

She is adored by everyone at the club. Members said she had given her all to keep the group running and she is regarded as a treasure to the community.

Iris said: “There is a saying ‘Retirement is when you stop living at work and start working at living’ – this is definitely my philosophy.

“I hope by reading this, people realise they never need to be lonely or sad as there is always someone out there to help them in retirement. We can be happy and content in our old age even if we are on our own.”