This list is our socially-distanced hug to over 80s

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This list is our socially-distanced hug to over 80s

Andrew Gilbert, chair of the 120 Over 80 panel, and Daniel Carmel-Brown, chief executive of Jewish Care, reflect on the conclusion of Jewish News' latest list

Andrew Gilbert and Daniel Carmel-Brown
Andrew Gilbert and Daniel Carmel-Brown

Andrew Gilbert, chair of the 120 Over 80 panel:

When we do a Jewish News list for the first time, we are never quite sure how it will be received.   But since we started asking the panel, all we heard was “what a great idea”.

Reading the entries, then reading the bios and seeing the copy has given such a great warm fuzzy feeling that we all need now.  

The pandemic has been hard on us all in different ways, but those aged over 80 have been most at risk from the virus, loneliness and lack of care. It was a joy to have Jewish Care as a partner for this list and to recognise its role at this time.

For all of us who want to hug our families and be with them, I hope the joy of this list is a socially-distanced hug to them and for us.

I have known some people on the list for years and some were new to me. Some I learnt more about than I knew before. Part of me wishes that we could go on for many more weeks and tell more special stories.

Andrew Gilbert

We acknowledge and eulogise our greats when they are no longer with us; I hope we can make a new tradition – to treasure, venerate and tell the stories of our mentors and teachers while they are with us to hear our love and praise.

The list of 120, which concludes today, covered more of Britain than some of the lists of younger people. Perhaps there is a truth of people moving to London and the south-east, but it was great to see Brighton, Bradford, Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Surrey and Essex on our list.

There were many other nominations.  Maybe in the not too distant future there will be a moment to put the spotlight on another 120 incredible people and tell their stories too.


Daniel Carmel-Brown, chief executive, Jewish Care:

As we list our final group of nominees for the 120 Over 80 list, I cannot help but reflect on how blessed we are as a community to have such inspirational and generous people among us. 

Those we have featured have forged paths, blazed trails, set examples and high standards, given endless amounts of their time to volunteering, and shared their knowledge and wisdom with us in the hope of creating a better world. We are, indeed, very fortunate.

Daniel Carmel-Brown

At Jewish Care, and I know I can speak on behalf of many communal organisations, we are blessed to have a very personal connection to many of those we have seen listed in the past few weeks. 

Many who have shared their testimonies, aided Holocaust education, given their lives to volunteering, to helping others, to establishing a better future, are our members and residents who we are lucky to have the privilege of knowing and supporting.  

The challenges of the past year for older and vulnerable people have been apparent to us all. 

The well-being of those we care for in our homes and in the wider community will always be our priority, and we are starkly reminded by the profiles of the nominees that this is not just a responsibility, but a great honour.

There were many entries that the panel was unable to feature, but are still very deserving of recognition. It is wonderful that so many people were moved to nominate someone over 80 who has made a profound impact on those around them. 

They are family; not just to their own loved ones, but to us, and to our community, and we deeply value the contributions that each
and every one of them has made and continues to make.


• Part one: 120 over 80: Our oldest and wisest  

• Part two: 120 Over 80 – meet our mentors!  

• Part three: 120 Over 80 – meet our golden generation!   

• Part four: 120 Over 80: Lockdown lowdown of our golden generation


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