‘Longridge lass’ made Hon Fellow

Margaret with her Red Rose award in April
Margaret with her Red Rose award in April

‘A Longridge lass born and bred.’

That’s how Margaret O’Donoghue’s five brothers and one sister proudly describe their sibling who was made an Honorary Fellow of the University of Central Lancashire at its graduation ceremony last week.

The award, presented at Preston’s Guild Hall, was made in recognition of her contribution to the community in relation to cancer care.

“Obviously we are all understandably extremely proud of her achievements,” said her brother Bill Oldcorn.

He added: “I thought it fitting that the readers of Longridge News should hear about her recognition with her being a Longridge lass born and bred, as we all were, at 6 Lodge View, Newtown.”

Margaret O’Donoghue, who was a founder member of St Catherine’s Hospice and chair of the board, established Cancer Help (Preston) Ltd and also created Vine House Cancer Care centres in Preston and Garstang.

She changed the face of life for cancer patients in Lancashire after nursing her mother through the disease and after being struck by the insensitive manner in which cancer patients were treated and the lack of support for them and their families.

As one of the seven Oldcorn children brought up in Longridge, Margaret started training as a State Registered Nurse at Preston Royal Infirmary in 1956 and, after qualifying, garnered a number of specialist qualifications and wide-ranging experience of oncological practice and cancer care.

Through her own professional experience, Margaret identified significant deficiencies in the treatment of cancer patients and helped found St Catherine’s Hospice in 1981, followed by the other centres.

Through them, more than 6,000 local cancer sufferers receive free visits or contact every year.

Now a grandmother of four, Margaret she enjoys live theatre, traditional jazz and reading. She has been awarded many honours and accolades including being chosen as Lancashire Woman of the Year in 1994 and becoming a Preston Guild Burgess in 2012.