A dedicated lady from Bromsgrove is celebrating an amazing 55 years of fundraising for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity after her son received a life-saving operation back in the early fifties.

Margaret Orbell, 92, and her late-husband Ron began fundraising over half a century ago by selling greeting cards and wrapping paper to help fund an extension at Longbridge Baptist church. Once the extension was completed the couple turned their attentions to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where their first-born son Mark had to undergo a serious operation to save his life.

When Mark was just four-weeks-old, Margaret noticed that he was struggling to keep his milk down and was quickly losing weight. Concerned, she took him to their local health clinic, where a visiting consultant from the Children’s Hospital diagnosed Mark with Pyloric Stenosis, a thickening of the muscle at the base of the stomach, which was preventing food from being passed into the small intestine. The consultant urged Margaret to take Mark straight to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, which at the time was located in Ladywood, and that same night Mark underwent major surgery to correct the problem.

Despite giving his mum quite the scare, thanks to the skills and care of surgeons and nurses at the hospital, Mark made a full recovery and is still fighting fit, 67 years later.

Margaret said: “After Mark’s operation in 1952, Ron and I felt we owed a tremendous debt to Birmingham Children’s Hospital – the staff did a miraculous job and pulled Mark through and we couldn’t thank them enough. When the extension at the church was complete, we decided to continue selling the cards for the Children’s Hospital and I just haven’t stopped since!”

Anna Pendlebury, Regional Fundraiser at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Margaret is such an inspiration! Families who have experienced the treatment and care of our hospital often never forget their time with us, and after over 55 years of fundraising, Margaret is living proof of that!

“She first started fundraising for us when we counted in pounds, shillings and pence, and we know that she has raised thousands for us over the years. We’re simply blown away by her dedication to our charity and can only begin to imagine the countless number of our sick children Margaret and her late-husband Ron have helped and supported over the years. We’re forever grateful and count ourselves lucky to have the family as our supporters.”


In 2021, Margaret's life-long fundraising and incredible efforts and dedication were acknowledged by the Pride of Birmingham Awards when she was named as the Fundraiser of the Year. Just a few months later, Margaret sadly passed away, aged 94. Read more about Margaret's award on the Birmingham Live website, here.