An 86-year-old grandmother, who still works five days a week at a Tesco store and has dedicated her life to the people of her local community, has been announced as a Tesco Mum of the Year winner.
Pam Clarke, of Ilkley, will be presented with her Lifetime Achievement Award in a ceremony at The Savoy, in London, on Sunday, March 23.
And as a result of her award Pamela was also a guest of David Cameron at 10 Downing Street last Thursday in the run-up to International Women’s Day which took place on Saturday.
Pamela was chosen to attend the reception as one of only 150 women from the whole country, singled out for her tireless work in helping others in her community.
The proud mother of two adopted children and four granddaughters goes to work every day at Tesco in Ilkley, where she has worked for nearly 26 years. In her spare time Pamela dedicates every waking moment to helping others, including caring for her husband of 65 years, Bruce, 90, who is blind.
Pamela became a Brownie in 1935 and has been part of the Guiding movement ever since. She goes to great lengths to support the many fundraising events held by them, raising thousands of pounds along the way. She was recently involved in raising £300,000 for a new Scout hut.
Pamela doesn’t let her age stop her, and four years ago took a trip to Guide camp where she joined in the activities and even took a ride on the zip wire.
Pamela is wardrobe mistress for the Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society, and has been for the last 30 years. Giving hours of dedication, she makes all the intricate costumes by hand and is currently working on costumes for the Wizard of Oz production. Pamela has even told her doctor that she can’t have a much-needed knee replacement until she’s finished the show. Pamela has raised thousands of pounds for the operatic society and makes and sells hundreds of pots of pickles, jam and preserves every year for their benefit.
She was a treasurer at Ilkley’s first playgroup and helped out at the local swimming club, which she taught at for more than 20 years. Known in Ilkley as ‘Aunty Pam,’ she tries to be a mother to those who don’t have a mum. In recognition of her services to the community, Pamela was presented with a MBE from Princess Anne on behalf of the Queen.
Not only has this local hero spent her life dedicated to others, she has also fought off cancer twice and pledged to live life to the full if she survived.
She said: “I made a vow to never waste a single moment.”
Pamela went on to beat throat cancer, which meant having half of her voice box removed, and stomach cancer where she had to have most of her stomach removed, leaving her with a severely restricted diet. When the surgeon told her there would be a delay before the stomach op could take place, Pamela replied: “Good, I’ve got costumes to finish making.” The surgeon replied: “You’ll live, Pam. You’ve got too much to do.”
Pamela has recently taken on the role of community champion for the Tesco store where she works and has gained support making links with many local charities and organisations such as church groups and community centres who have all shown recognition of her efforts.
Pamela said: “I thought I was too old to be nominated for the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards. I’m absolutely thrilled. I’ve got more out of working with charities than I’ve ever given. What I’ve learnt with charity is that you need to be generous. I have over 400 friends but I’ve stopped sending Christmas cards and now donate to charity, including the Lifeboats and Salvation Army.”
Pamela’s story touched the hearts of the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards judging panel, including radio DJ Sara Cox, TV presenter Gabby Logan and Olympic gold medallist and TV personality Denise Lewis.
The glamorous red carpet ceremony, which attracts a host of celebrity guests, will celebrate inspirational mums from all over the UK, who have made a difference to the lives of others. Pamela will also be treated to a full makeover and her own Tesco Living magazine photoshoot, before being presented with her award in front of friends, family and celebrity guests.
Debbie Chernin, Tesco Mum of the Year manager, said: “We are extremely proud to be holding the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards for the ninth year. It is a privilege to be able to recognise the achievements of an amazing woman like Pamela. Her commitment to helping others in her community is truly inspirational. The fact that she still works five days a week at the age of 86 and still has time to support others shows just how inspirational she is.”