Madeleine Awarded "Great Neighbour" At BBC Radio WM Awards 2023
28th September 2023
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Walsall`s Madeleine Holland, whilst battling Leukemia, regularly volunteers at food banks and tutors young people from deprived areas free of charge.


     "My son died at 24 from a brain haemorrhage" said Madeleine "and his name was Martin and he was a great lad and musician.  He loved playing sports and also did the best impressions at his school.  I believe God took him for a reason.  That`s why I help young people.  I have volunteered all my life because there is always something that needs doing and if I can help I will do it."  


It is this heart-breaking tragedy that tore Madeleine`s life apart that spurred her on to do charity work.  Madeleine pledged her life to helping everyone in memory of her son.  


"It`s in my nature" said Madeleine.  "I help youngsters with the 11+ and I don`t take any money for it.  If the students are prepared to work hard I`ll do it.  My optometrist was one of my star pupils and a tearaway but I kept him at his studies.  He now owns his own practice.   I had a cleaner who came from Syria 6 years ago and had a terrible time getting here.  I coached her son who was 5 while she cleaned I would teach him.  Now he speaks with a Donegal accent.  When he reads in assembly the teacher says "I can hear you in there Mrs Holland".  Now he has a place at Aston Grammer School."


  Madeleine Holland grew up in Donegal in Ireland before coming to Walsall with her family.  After gaining a scholarship to a private convent school she was inspired by the students` hard work ethic to achieve their dreams.  


"A lot of Asian families come to me for help" she said "and I don`t take any money from them but they do make me a nice curry like some tu8bs of dhal.  I was in hospital and they came in with tins with rice and chicken curry.  How lovely is that?"  


Madeleine Holland`s charitable work has earned her awards from the Queen Consort Camilla Parker-Bowles and 2 visits to Buckingham Palace where she met the late Queen Elizabeth II.  


"You get people from all walks of life coming to the foodbank" explained Madeleine.  We often don`t realise how hard it is for people.  They have young children but they are so grateful.  Sometimes they get dressed up to come for tea and coffee as they don`t get out much.  I have Leukemia so I can`t do as much heavy lifting.  I was diagnosed just before Christmas which was a shock to me.  I didn`t think somebody aged 80 would get it.  Every day is a bonus, isn`t it?  I will plod away". 

The BBC Radio WM Make A Difference Awards 2023 honour local individuals who go the extra mile for their community.  Judges included Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds, celebrity chef Glynn Purnell and BBC Radio 2 and The One Show`s Richie Andreson.  


"I met everyone" said Madeleine "and it was so lovely.  I took the award to the food bank and they were delighted for me."

About the Author

Ian Henery

Member since: 4th February 2019

Presenter Black Country Radio & Black Country Xtra

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