Irene Strange has devoted most of her life to people living in Southsea.
In 1981, she decided to let 10 homeless people a week use her then home in St Ronan’s Road, Southsea, and took out a mortgage on the house next to her and ran it as a base for vulnerable people.
As the years have gone by she has also founded Portsmouth and District Private Landlords’ Association to help bring in important legislation in regards to housing.
After 25 years’ service she is now an honorary member.
Other achievements include helping to found Albert Road Traders’ Association, which helps to tackle the concerns of traders, and she stopped Cumberland House, in Cumberland Street, Portsea, from being demolished after she set up a campaigning group.
Now Irene, 79, has been given a lifetime achievement award in recognition of all her selfless work.
She was given a trophy at Cha Chas, in Palmerston Road, Southsea, on December 12, by Southsea Association chairman Vince Faithfull and city council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson.
Irene, who now lives in Albert Grove, Southsea, says: ‘When my late husband was alive we were publicans in Abingdon-on-Thames. We got unstuck and became homeless, so I know what it’s like to live as a homeless person.
‘When I arrived in Southsea I decided to use the last bit of money that I had to take a mortgage out on a house for those in the same situation.’
Irene is a trustee of The Friends of Highland Road Cemetery, which is dedicated to maintaining the cemetery and celebrating its historical connections.
She is also a tree warden for The Portsmouth and Southsea Tree Wardens Scheme and a founder member of Southsea Association, which was set up around four years ago.
Vince, who runs A & V Trade Sales, in Victoria Road South, Southsea, says: ‘Irene has done so much in and around Southsea.
‘She’s helped to bring together organisations that meet and deal with issues in Southsea.
‘The association is extremely proud that she is a member.
‘We felt that it was only right to award her with a lifetime achievement award.’
Despite being in her later years, Irene always makes her presence known at charity events which the Southsea Association organises or takes part in within the community.
Irene says: ‘My heart and my soul has been given to Southsea all my years.
‘I feel very pleased and proud to be given this award.’