Well-known former Buxton jeweller honoured by the Queen for charity work
A Buxton woman who raised over £150,000 for Blythe House Hospice has been honoured by the Queen with an MBE.
Pat Holland began raising money for the hospice over 30 years ago - inspired to help others after the death of her first husband in an accident.
She later lost her son Paul, aged just 17, in a car accident and second husband Ivan Hill to cancer.
Mum-of-seven Pat told how she first started charity work when she was eight or nine years old - baking cakes or making teddies for the church.
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However she told how losing three members of her own family in tragic circumstances made her want to help others.
She said: “I’ve had a few knocks and it made me understand how vulnerable people need a bit of help.
“I think if you can help someone when they’re in a state then you have a duty to do it - and it makes you feel better yourself.”
Grandmother-of-14 Pat, 72, - a thespian since the age of 20 - brought Manchester’s famous Halle Orchestra to Buxton Opera House six times - with all proceeds going to Blythe House.
Apart from her work fundraising for Blythe House former jeweller Pat - who worked at Buxton’s J Sidebothams for 30 years - has organised various other campaigns over the years.
One included an opera gala at Chatsworth House to build a grain store for a village in Malawi.
And her scrap silver and gold appeal raised over £20,000 for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Speaking about the award – an MBE for services to the community – Pat described how she was in Morrisons when she spotted an email from the Cabinet Office which she at first dismissed as a scam.
She said: “I saw the email and thought ‘oh, it’s just one of those’ but when I phoned them and they said ‘yes, you’ve got an award’ I was shocked.
“I’m extremely honoured but there are people who are far more worthy recipients.
“You get so much from fundraising because it makes you feel so good helping someone else - I’m a bit embarrassed by it all but it is a huge honour.”