October 23 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Senior reporter
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Richard Madeley, better known as one half of TV presenting duo Richard & Judy, has been all over the world during his stellar career but still classes himself as a Romford boy.
Brought up in Rush Green and an alumni of Robert Clack School, he spent his formative years here and has never forgotten his roots.
Speaking to the Recorder from his family home in Hampstead, he said it was one of the many factors that drew him to become a patron of Saint Francis Hospice.
Richard is supporting our 30for30 appear to raise £30,000 for the hospice in their anniversary year.
“I moved when I was 13 but I’ve always absolutely seen myself as a Romford boy,” he said.
“So when the hospice got in touch with me about two years ago and asked me to get involved, I said yes in a shot.”
Since becoming a hospice patron in 2012, Richard has visited the hospice in Havering-atte-Bower several times to meet patients and staff.
Many of the people there are suffering from terminal illnesses but it is not a sad or depressing place, he said.
“It is some of the most rewarding charity work you can do,” he added.
“There’s this complete misconception about hospices being tragic places where people go to die but it isn’t like that at all.
“I know it sounds weird but the atmosphere there can actually be quite happy and celebratory.”
As well as treating illnesses as best they can, hospice staff work to alleviate suffering and support patients’ family and friends.
“It gives people the chance to reminisce about their lives and have conversations with their family they may never have had,” Richard said.
“You, me and our friends and family – we are all on the same road, we are all heading towards that point.
“Some of us don’t know how long we’ve got left to travel but when you go to a hospice, you meet people who know.”
Part of the role of the hospice is to help people come to terms with their own death and help relatives through their loss.
Richard said: “They show it’s not strange, or foreboding, or threatening.
“People arrive feeling terrified but I’ve never seen anyone looking terrified staying at Saint Francis.
“Their work is invaluable – it never ceases to amaze me.”
As half of one of the most famous couples on television, Richard has helped raise funds for charities around the country.
He is most famous for presenting This Morning from its launch in 1988 until 2001 with wife Judy Finnigan.
The pair then went on to present their own show on Channel 4, which ended in 2008.
Judy has now put presenting to one side while she focuses on her writing career and Richard is freelancing on television and radio while finishing his second novel.
He splits his time writing between Hampstead and their second home in Cornwall and flies around the world for functions – this week he is in Dubai.
A slot in a primetime BBC show could be on the cards but no details have been made public.
“I’m not allowed to talk about it,” Richard said.
After starting his career on local newspapers including the Recorder’s sister paper the East London Advertiser, he moved into broadcast journalism.
After decades of working full-time, he said becoming freelance has allowed him to focus more on what he wants to do, including charity work.
He said: “I’d like to visit Saint Francis more regularly, maybe twice a year.
“It’s humans doing what we all should do, showing extraordinary kindness and care to each other.
“It’s humanity at its very best.”