Popular Leeds restaurant owner nominated for Woman of the Year on Lorraine after incredible lockdown generosity

A restaurant owner from Leeds has been nominated for Woman of the Year on ITV'S Lorraine - after her incredible work feeding the community during the Covid lockdown.

Monday, 4th October 2021, 4:12 pm

Maureen Wilkes, 63, has owned the popular Maureen's Caribbean Takeaway since 2003.

She is a community stalwart and loved in the area surrounding the Roundhay Road premises.

During the Covid lockdown, determined Maureen selflessly made food from the kitchen for key workers, emergency services, nurses, doctors and the community.

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Maureen Wilkes owns Maureens Caribbean Food Leeds in Harehills

She was nominated by her proud daughter Miriam for the award for her incredible work.

On Monday morning - during Lorraine's show - a reporter visited Maureen at the restaurant to surprise her with the news.

Many members of her family and the community awaited outside with flowers and congratulations as an emotional Maureen was interviewed.

She is now set to head to London to attend the awards ceremony.

Maureen Wilkes owns Maureens Caribbean Food Leeds in Harehills

Speaking to the YEP on Monday afternoon following the nomination, Maureen said she was "grinning ear to ear".

She said the award made her feel "very special" and she "couldn't believe it".

Maureen added: "I was in total shock.

"It was the first I had heard of it [when the reporter came].

"I am overwhelmed."

Maureen said she really wanted to help those in need during the difficult lockdown period in the city.

She said: "I have been feeding people for years, I just thought 'let me do something'.

"Those who did not have anything, I wanted to give something."

After receiving hundreds of messages of congratulations, Maureen said she was honoured to receive the nomination - among thousands to the show.

She added: "It was so nice to help out and feed people.

"If I have food to give, I don't mind giving it.

"Everyone needs to eat."

Maureen's daughters told Lorraine she had "a really big heart".

They added: "She will be very excited."

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