A Bognor Regis community champion is down to the final three in a national contest for find the UK’s Woman of the Year.
Gez Watson, of Laurel Close, is one of a trio of finalists for ITV1’s Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year Award.
The 58-year-old, who has dedicated her time to improving the Trees Estate in North Bersted, was nominated for the accolade last month by her husband Trevor.
“I am so very proud to have been nominated. I couldn’t do what I do without the help of others,” she said.
“I like to think I am part of a committee which wants to help and make changes.
“I suppose I just try to lead by example, but I have a lot of support from people and I thank each and every one of them.”
Gez had her first taste of stardom on Tuesday morning when she appeared on TV show Lorraine.
“It was fantastic. Lorraine Kelly was smashing, she really was – she made us feel at ease immediately, it was like talking to a friend.”
Gez started her work on the estate 12 years ago and since then has been involved in countless projects, working with the police, local authorities and others to make the estate a better place for all ages.
“The estate was well-known for its number of burnt-out and abandoned cars and as a priority we wanted to change that. We did a tidy-up, and planted trees and flowers.
“We wanted residents to be proud and confident of where they live.”
Husband Trevor praised the ‘terrific wife, mother and grandmother’, who is also a parish councillor and a school governor.
“Gez leads by example on an estate which used to be a no-go zone, working to make this estate a better place for all ages to live,” he said.
Arun District Council chairman Dennis Wilde is calling for residents to unite behind Gez, calling her an inspiration.
He said: “She is selfless in her drive to make the Trees Estate a better place for people of all ages and her enthusiasm and passion for where she lives is truly inspiring.
“Gez has changed the lives of so many people for better. I can’t think of a more fitting award for a more deserving lady.”
Last year Gez won the Observer Community Award for Best Community Person and was one of the first winners of the Arun Chairman Community Hero Awards.
Vote for Gez until Monday at Lorraine’s website – the winner will be revealed at the Women of the Year Lunch on October 17 at the Intercontinental Hotel in London.