A BROCKMOOR stalwart, who was “the heart in the community,” has died at the age of 97.

Former clerical worker Madeline Sharratt, known fondly as Madge, dedicated her life to the Brockmoor community for over 50 years and “changed people’s lives” along the way.

Even up to her death on February 16 in Russells Hall Hospital, Madge was as active as she could be and kept up to speed with all the goings-on at her beloved Brockmoor Community Centre.

In 1961, she helped found the Pensnett Road centre with her late husband Arthur and was honoured with the title of life president 20 years ago.

Never one to take a back seat, at one time Madge sat on 14 committees in the area, including chair of Brockmoor Community Association, a school governor, the old people's welfare committee, the WRVS, church council member and leader of Brockmoor Darby and Joan club – a role she proudly held for over five decades.

Friends at the Darby and Joan club met for the first time on Monday since Madge’s death and fondly recalled memories of their leader – who only originally joined the club in the 1950s to play the piano.

Club Deputy Leader, Kathleen Grainger, who was interviewed by Madge for the role as secretary of Brockmoor Community Association in 1971, said: “She had an energetic involvement with all aspects of life in Brockmoor, but most of all with her beloved Darby and Joan Club, which we hope to carry on in her memory.

“She always had a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone.”

Fellow Deputy Leader Renie Fisher-Holt, aged 92, said: “Everybody knew her and everybody loved her, she literally changed people's lives. She will be very much missed by everyone in the community.”

Mrs Sharratt gave her life to making Brockmoor a better place for its residents and in the 1980s successfully campaigned to get a crossing on Pensnett Road, to allow visitors to travel safely to the community centre.

But she did not originally hail from the area after moving to the Black Country from Ullenhall in Henley-in-Arden, when she was 16 years-old.

She moved to Brierley Hill, following her father’s death, so her publican mother could continue to work.

And it was in the pub where Madge met Round Oak steelworker Arthur.

The couple were married for over 50 years and moved to Hickman Road, where Madge remained following her husband's death in 1991.

The couple had two children – Anna and Robert – five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, who saw Madge regularly.

Her son, Robert, said: “She had a huge interest in the community and helping people. She was a huge example to us and made us so proud of her.”

Mrs Sharratt’s funeral is to be held on Tuesday, March 8 at 1pm at St John’s Church in High Street, where she was a regular member alongside Arthur, who was a former churchwarden.

The service will be followed by cremation at Gornal Wood.

The family have asked for family flowers only, but any donations in her memory will be given to Mary Stevens Hospice – a charity close to her heart.