A night to be proud. . . and reflect

WARWICK mum and founder of charity Molly Olly’s Wishes, Rachel Ollerenshaw has spoken of her ‘night to remember’ following the 2019 Pride of Birmingham ceremony at which she received a Special Recognition Award.

Pride of Birmingham
Rachel Ollerenshaw is pictured with celebrities Michelle Heaton and Claudia Jessie who presented her with the Pride of Birmingham Award.

She said: “Well that certainly wasn’t our average Tuesday! The day started with a delivery from TSB of a box of chocolates and message of congratulations which was a lovely touch.

“At 5pm our car, organised by the Pride of Birmingham team, arrived and whisked us away to the event at The Great Hall at Birmingham University. As soon as we arrived all the team were so welcoming and put us at our ease. It all felt a bit surreal but was all a very special.

“It was so humbling to hear so many amazing stories and I felt extremely honoured to even be considered, let alone win an award. I loved having Tim, Ben and Maeve by my side. I wish the entire Molly Olly team could have been there too to be recognised for all their support.

“Thank you to everyone involved and to Claudia Jessie and Michelle Heaton who presented me with my award who were very kind. So many people have a story to tell, so many have faced adversity in different ways and it is good to share our stories. Definitely a night to remember and good to just take a breath for a moment, to reflect and remember Molly.” 

Rachel’s daughter Molly was just three when she was diagnosed with a tumour, and sadly died five years later.

Molly Ollerenshaw just a few weeks before she passed away, aged eight.

Rachel, 48 and husband Tim founded the charity Molly Olly’s Wishes in her daughter’s memory to give emotional support to children with a terminal or life-threatening illness, and their families. The charity, which grants wishes, has also donated £40,000 to furnish support centre Magnolia House at Birmingham Children’s Hospital where Molly was treated.

But the star of the show is Olly The Brave, a cuddly lion who comes complete with a detachable mane and Hickman Line, just like the young cancer patients who adore him.

Speaking on stage to actress – and the awards host – Kym Marsh, Rachel said: “I was genuinely shocked and, to be honest, a bit embarrassed to receive this,” she admitted.

“This journey is about supporting other people and helping them through their toughest days. You don’t really think about getting awards along the way. But it’s very kind and massively important to me.”

“Molly was a old head on young shoulders,” she said. “A lot of kids can be like that when they have to face something so young.

“Molly very much liked to look after children and that’s why we’re here today. She guided us on this path and I know she would be really excited and proud of us.”

“I’m not a trained counsellor. I’m just another mum who has been through it.

“Even if you have great friends and a supportive family, being able to talk to someone who has been through it can really make a difference, and make you feel less isolated,” she said.

Presenting the Special Recognition Award were Line of Duty and Vanity fair star Claudia Jessie, and presenter and campaigner Michelle Heaton.

See the charity’s VT shown on the night here

To read more about the Ollerenshaw’s story and the awards click here

To see how you can support the charity while having fun in the Easter holidays, click here

Visit the charity’s website here

To donate visit here


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