AFTER more than a decade of supporting people across the borough who suffer from macular eye disease, a Halesowen volunteer has been recognised with a national award.

Linda Ellis is one of the winners at this year’s Macular Society Awards for Excellence, being named the winner of the chairman’s award for volunteering in recognition of her commitment and dedication in raising awareness of the condition.

The former computer programmer and civil servant will receive her award at the society’s national annual conference, which takes place at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London on September 16.

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. She also launched the Dudley Macular Support Group, which is now in its 11th year.

Linda said: “Finding out that I’d won was a real shock. When the society rang me to tell me I couldn’t believe it.

“But I am absolutely delighted. It’s a real honour and it also helps to raise the profile of our group, which is very important.

“There are so many macular support groups now and all of the volunteers who help run them do a wonderful job. You think someone from one of those groups will be chosen – and even though I’d been shortlisted, I didn’t think for a moment that it would be me.”

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

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.

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular 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.”