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Marcelle Rudder – a sight to behold


Marcelle Rudder – a sight to behold

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MARCELLE RUDDER-CLARKE sees with her heart. She is a visually impaired patriot whose community spirit and service flow through her district like a volt of electricity designed to bring people closer together. Altruistic and kind-hearted in character, she holds the title Queen of St Philip.

Before Marcelle became blind in 2005 she lived a very active life. She enjoyed the company of friends and meeting new people. She liked dressing up in her finest to go to events across the island and having a grand time. However, her adventurous temperament grew more when she lost her eyesight.

“I made up my mind that someday I would eventually go blind. I instructed my household not to move things from where they accustomed being because I had to rely on memory especially when it came to the kitchen.

“I separated sugar, salt, seasonings and flour. And when someone is helping me in the kitchen they can unpack the fridge but I have to repack it myself. I have a passion for cooking and baking and I use my sense of touch to differentiate the appliances. My household cannot get enough of my macaroni and sweet potato pies,” she said.

Marcelle told EASY magazine that she loves going out so much that she would go shopping for her friends and family just to leave the house. She said that she leaves home so often that she is called Marcelle Roader-Clarke.

“I go to town about twice a week. I like shopping for curtains, sheet sets, school supplies for children and groceries. When people in the supermarket see me they shout for Marcelle Roader and I laugh.

“But people always gravitated towards me because of my role in Blades Hill.

“I helped raise many children in the community. Some are doctors, lawyers, accountants and missionaries now. I would take them for walks in the evening. Their parents knew me well because I was a domestic worker.”

In her district, Marcelle sits on several committee boards and has won prestigious awards for her community contributions. She said she feels honoured to be recognised for her work.

“I am the founder of Claybury’s Social and Activity Group. I am a member of St Mark’s Primary School Old Scholars Association and I am a member of the Parent Teachers Association social group at St Mark’s Primary.

“When my sons were going to school there, there was no PTA because the numbers at the school was too little. So the parents and I came together and said we would form our own association and I came up with the name Eastern Friendship Group. I am in the Lady Ministry at my church and I am also the founder of the Morning Glory group.”

Marcelle went into detail about the difference between Morning Glory and Q In The Community.

“Morning Glory started with a small group under a tree in Queen’s Park. My friends and I use to send greetings to each other over the radio and after a while it just didn’t make sense hearing them and not seeing them in person. So I said let us form a group. When Morning Glory got popular it was held at various places across the island. It was a social event where people would catch-up with each other.

“It was about community service as well. We used to go around to community centres, retirement homes, children homes and district hospitals and present them with hampers. But Q In The Community stemmed from this and they only adopted the social part. But Morning Glory is what it is and Q is something different. People call Q In The Community Morning Glory because they both have similarities but Morning Glory is dying as it is not as mainstream as before.”

Marcelle explained how she got the title Queen of St Philip. She said her community spirit and her popularity on radio are responsible for the nomination. She said she is told that there is no one who can who can reach radio personalities in the studio like she can.

“I request songs for people on their birthdays and anniversaries and I send condolences to people. I also talk about activities that go on in the neighbourhood and I was doing this for years,” she said.

“I really enjoy hearing Pearson Bowen on the radio. I like the segments where you have to call in and give the answers to the riddles but I want people to know that I do not have a different number to call. I call the same telephone number as them . . . . It is just that I am patient and I call until I get through.”

For Marcelle, radio is a way of life. It is her way of connecting with thousands of people she otherwise would not be able to meet.

“People tell me that they like to hear when I’m on the radio and I feel they got accustomed hearing me with Cupid [Ian Gill] and then Pearson. I consider Cupid to be my mentor and Pearson is my close friend.

“Although I have a disability, radio became an avenue for me to express myself. And after a while I forgot that I was blind. When people came up to me while I was out and ask if I was blind I asked them who they were speaking of.”

When the Broken Trident visited Emerald City last month, the master of ceremonies Alff Padmore said that he could not believe Marcelle was visually impaired. He said that he took her home after an event and the way she directed him to her house, he had to double-check to make sure she could not see. Marcel was able to tell him which direction to turn at every major stop on the route to her house, he said.

The 67-year-old has two grandchildren, 14 year-old Ke-Ann Hill Burke and newborn Kadian Clarke, whom she loves dearly. Her two sons, Demar Clarke and Brian, are both mummy’s boys and help her in her day-to-day activities. Marcelle is loved so profoundly that she has volunteer helpers. Claudia Greaves is her caretaker, Jean Gooding-Franklyn and Lorraine Hunte-Burke are responsible for taking her to and from events, Pearline Eversley is her daily phonecall friend, while Clyde Odle records her contact numbers.

Marcelle enjoys travelling and cruising with her friends and loved ones and is also proud to achieve several awards for her service and kindred spirit and a diploma in parenting. She also won another prestigious award for International Women’s Day at the University of the West Indies.