OLDER people in Gwent will be treated to three special events this winter thanks to cash awards offered through the Argus by the Help The Aged British Gas partnership.

The awards, totalling £2,000, were made to celebrate Warm Hearts Week this week - December 3 to 9 - an initiative to bring a little extra warmth and cheer to older people in the community.

Local groups, organisations and businesses were asked to come up with ideas for events which would best use the cash this winter.

The first prize of £1,000 went to Duffryn Community Link, in Newport, which is planning to hold a 1940s tea party for senior citizens.

Project co-ordinator Rebecca Probert said: "We wish to book a traditional band to play music from this era, and we would also encourage everyone to dress up, as there will be prizes on offer."

She said they were "really chuffed" to have won the award and were on the look out for a swing band to play at the event.

Some costumes have already been loaned to the Link free of charge by Marigold Theatrical Costumes, of Cardiff.

The Duffryn Youth Forum also wants to get involved by putting on either a short drama piece or a fashion show related to the period.

Any swing bands interested in offering their services for the Duffryn Community Link's tea party can call Rebecca Probert on 01633 762193.

One of the £500 runners-up prizes went to Charter Housing, which provides social housing throughout Newport, Torfaen, Monmouthshire and Caerphilly, and came up with a number of events.

The housing association is planning a number of evenings of entertainment to bring together older people living in sheltered housing schemes.

A second runners-up prize of £500 went to Monmouth Senior Citizens' Evergreen Club for the Aged.

The money will go towards a special Christmas party for the club, which meets at the Shire Hall.The club's chairwoman, Phyllis Morgan, said the party will be on December 17.

* In the picture: Residents Les Wilmott, 73, and Dolly Preston, 85, with Rebecca Probert and Bridgette Barnett, of Duffryn Community Link.