HIS name is Geordie and his neighbours describe him as ‘a diamond’.

Comments like that have resulted in County Durham man Geordie Tilley winning a housing association’s good neighbour of the year award.

Following a record number of nominations, Geordie was the overwhelming choice of the judges in the Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association (DAMHA) 2019 Good Neighbour of the Year competition.

The 71-year-old who lives in one of DAMHA’s homes at Ramsey Terrace, Delves Lane, Consett, in was nominated by many of his neighbours.

Remarks made by his grateful neighbours included:

* 'I could not ask for a better man to look out for everyone in the street';

* 'He is a diamond';

* 'One of a kind';

* 'I couldn’t manage without him';

* 'He will do anything for anyone'.

One of his supporters, Marion Haytack, told the judging panel: “He is always looking out for me and when I am away, he checks my house to make sure everything is okay.”

Jean and Colin Bell said: “Geordie is a very helpful friendly neighbour and is always helping people in our street.”

And Lucy Rogan, whose aunt lives at Ramsey, Terrace, added: “Whether it is digging residents out when it snows or helping to fix boilers or fire, nothing is a bother for him.

“He is so observant and checks on everyone if they haven’t been seen for a few days. He really is a diamond.”

A modest Geordie received a trophy, plaque and payment of £150 at DAMHA’s end of the year residents’ forum.

He said: “I am over the moon to win, but I don’t think I do anything special.

“Luckily, my health is still good so if I can help people with a few jobs, or just make sure they are okay, then that’s good enough for me.”

Paul Mullis. DAMHA chief executive, said: “We never cease to be amazed at the lengths people will go to help their neighbours and in Geordie, they certainly broke the mould.”

“It’s clear that having Geordie in their lives benefits so many people and he is thoroughly deserving of this year’s award”

Second prize, and receiving a plaque and £100 was Annette Richardson, from Gilesgate Moor.

Third prize in the competition, and receiving a plaque and £50, went to Tom Heeley, from Witton Gilbert.

DAMHA was founded in 1898 and is the largest Almshouse charity in the country. It has around 1,700 homes, predominantly bungalows, on 130 sites in 80 villages, which provide retirement housing for more than 2,000 North-East residents. It has a residential home, sheltered accommodation and leasehold schemes for the elderly.

Traditionally, the Association has provided homes for mineworkers, but now anyone over the age of 50 can apply.

The Association’s key area of operation is the former Durham coalfield, comprising the Districts of Durham County, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland.