A DEDICATED Halesowen volunteer who helped launch a macular disease support group more than a decade ago has been shortlisted for a top national award.

Linda Ellis is one of the nominees for this year’s Macular Society Awards for Excellence following her commitment in raising awareness of the condition, as well as highlighting help and support available to people with it.

Former computer programmer and civil servant Linda has been volunteering for the Macular Society more than 10 years after being diagnosed with a retinal vein occlusion, a blockage of the small veins that carry the blood away from the retina.

Linda helped to launch the Dudley Macular Support Group, which is now in its 11th year, and has led it since it began.

The group meets on the third Wednesday of every month, from 2pm to 4pm at Cornbow Hall, and offers information, encouragement and friendship to people living locally who have macular disease.

Alongside her work with the Dudley support group, Linda also acts as a speaker for the Macular Society, giving many talks on macular disease to a wide range of groups across the region.

Linda said: “It was a bit of a shock to find out I’d been shortlisted for this award. I really never expected it.

“I was fortunate as my eye condition didn’t leave me with permanent sight damage. But finding out about the Macular Society did make me want to try and do all that I could to help people with macular disease and let as many people know about it as possible.

“I really enjoy all of the volunteering activities I’m involved in. The Dudley Macular Support Group has been very successful and it’s great to see how the members of the group share their experiences and help each other.”

Now in their ninth year, the awards are run by the charity to celebrate the inspirational work done to provide services and care for people with macular disease all over the UK.

The winners will be announced at the Macular Society’s national annual conference, which takes place at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, in London, on September 16.

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the society, said: “All of our volunteers do a tremendous job in helping people all over the UK with macular disease, and our annual awards give us an opportunity to say thank you to them for all that they do.

“Linda is no exception and thoroughly deserves this nomination. She has worked tirelessly to help people with macular conditions in her local community. It’s only right that her efforts should be recognised in this way.”