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Preston’s Caribbean queen Matilda remembered with charity walk

Posted on - 17th June, 2023 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Preston News
Matilda Kirwan

A stalwart of Preston’s Caribbean community has been remembered with a charity walk in her name.

Matilda Kirwan who ran her own catering business Tilda’s Kitchen was involved in organising the city’s Windrush Festival and also held an annual Caribbean BBQ in Clayton Brook.

Organised by Matilda’s daughter Makhala the 40-strong group, including Makhala’s brothers Royden, Earlan and Kadiff, walked from Matilda’s former Clayton Brook Home to Rosemere Cancer Centre at Royal Preston Hospital.

Read more: Rosemere chairman Peter Mileham has died

Matilda died aged 58 of pancreatic cancer in May last year just a few weeks after being diagnosed with the disease in April.

Earlan and Makhala with their donation

Read more: Pioneering lunch cancer diagnosis at Royal Preston Hospital

Makhala said: “Mum was the kindest person you could ever meet. She was so giving and charitable. She came to this country in 1998 with my dad Peter as a refugee from the Carribean island of Montserrat, which is a British Overseas Territory. They were granted refuge following a volcanic eruption that had taken the lives of two of my mum’s sisters and destroyed all they had.

“My dad, who worked as an electrician, was the love of her life. He suffered a stroke in January 2021 and then caught Covid and died on Valentine’s Day. My mum was so strong. In December 2021, she underwent surgery for breast cancer. Her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer a few months later came as a huge shock.”

“When we brought mum home from hospital, friends and family would come round to help look after her, sing with her and hold prayer sessions as mum was a devout Christian. They would arrive thinking they would be a source of encouragement to her but left encouraged by her themselves. She was that kind of person.

“I wanted to do something active that mum would be proud of us doing. Mum had participated in Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s ‘Walk in the Dark’ despite having arthritic knees. She’d kept us all going so I knew she would appreciate us doing a walk in her memory.

“Thank you to everyone who supported us, to the strangers along the route who clapped for us, the car drivers who sounded their horns and the crews of a couple of ambulances that passed us, who wound down their windows to thank us when they saw our Rosemere t-shirts. It meant so much.”

The group reaching Royal Preston Hospital

The group raised more than £7,000 in memory of Matilda and the money will go towards the Rosemere Cancer Foundation charity.

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