Living the dream at a Halesowen club

Halesowen News: Dorothy Clarke MBE at the Halesowen Over 50s Club. (Buy photo 051404L) Dorothy Clarke MBE at the Halesowen Over 50s Club. (Buy photo 051404L)

A COMMIUNITY stalwart relived the dream day she received her MBE from Prince Charles for members of the Halesowen Over 50s Club, which she founded.

Dorothy Clarke, aged 85, was presented with the medal at Buckingham Palace in December in recognition of her work with the elderly.

She has run the pensioners’ group at St Peter’s Centre, Pedmore, for 30 years and set up the popular Halesowen club, which boasts more than 70 members, 13 years ago.

Club treasurer Janet Holyfield said members were “thrilled” to have the chance to watch the video of Mrs Clarke’s big day, see her medal and the outfit she wore.

She added: “We are exceptionally proud of her - her medal was very well deserved.”

Mrs Clarke, who lives in Pedmore, kept the Halesowen club going at the Zion Christian Centre after the Lighthouse Project closed in 2009 when its funding became a victim of the credit crunch.

She said both Halesowen and Pedmore were mentioned in the palace as she was called forward to receive her MBE.

Mrs Clarke added: “It was like a dream, it was magnificent, absolutely wonderful – the whole day from getting to the palace gates and waiting for them to open and let us in.

“And to shake hands with Prince Charles – who dreams of that for me just an ordinary working class girl?”

She organises speaker meetings, parties and runs outings for members of the Halesowen club, whose members range from around 65 to 104-years-old.

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