HEALTH issues keep Kath Clarkson at home nowadays but she has still not lost the spark and resilience that made her a community champion for many years.

Kath and Louise Riley, a former resident of Hillside, Maryport, did their best to bring residents together and actually transform the area into a true community.

They hosted Christmas parties, Easter events, outdoor fun events, bulb planting and so much more.

“We worked hard for the Hillside estate," Kath said. "There were a few others who would help occasionally but manly it was Louise and me - although everyone turned up for the fun and free events!”

When Louise moved out of Maryport, Kath, dogged by ill health, did not want to cope alone. Pleas for help fell on deaf ears and the Hillside Resident’s Association drifted slowly into oblivion.

“It is really sad," she said. "Nobody wants to do anything. People complain about the children but there is nothing for them to do up here now - nowhere for them to go.

"But while they complain, they aren’t willing to do anything about it.”

She said there is a significant drug problem on the estate but praised both social housing landlords Castle and Coast and community police officer Sam Steel for what they do in the area/ But she said it was still time for other residents and parents, especially, to do something for the area.

Kath has both COPD and hemochromatosis, or iron overload. The latter is a condition in which your body stores too much iron. It’s often genetic.

“Don’t laugh but I have Irish and Scottish blood in me and have been told that it probably stems from my Viking blood! Both make me very tired and, although there is a pub with live music close by, if I tried to walk there, by the time I got to the bar I would be gasping too much to order a drink!”

She said she did not know what she would do without granddaughters Kirsty and Kayleigh. She also looks after Kayleigh’s son, who was recently diagnosed with diabetes.

“Layton is a lovely boy. I try and find out as much as I can about the disease and what food he is allowed and how much insulin he should take but he seems to know everything about it. Layton and his parents, Kayleigh and Martin, all know more than me so keep me on the right track.”

Oh! And she has the dogs - her own one and another two dachshunds who arrived when Kirsty moved in with her. She might complain, but Kath has more than enough love to go around!