This Mother's Day we spoke to Janet Page, whose mother Joan Fraser served in the WAAF during the Second World War. She tells us why her Mum continues to inspire her.
My mother Joan is a lively 91 years old. She still has an enormous appetite for life, vivacious, fun and with an amazing memory.
Her memories of the war are vivid and she can recall her time at Bletchley Park starting as a 17-year-old working together with the code-breaking team. She also met Winston Churchill several times in the war rooms in London during these times and who she describes as a total gentleman who generously acknowledged all the staff working there every day.
I remain proud of the work she did to help the war effort, it is humbling when understanding the efforts made by so many, and many of which were not necessarily recognised in full at the time.
Recently though and through the Not Forgotten Society she has been privileged to attend an event at St. James' Palace where she danced with Anton du Beke (of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing fame), one of the invited hosts. (Joan still being a queen of ballroom dancing up until only a couple of years ago.)
In addition she was invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace where she met and chatted to Prince Harry. The conversation is not for public consumption but did embrace the desirability of beards! (Joan has never been shy in giving her opinions to anyone!)
She lives alone in London and I know she sometimes gets lonely and misses regular company. So she really appreciates her frequent stays at the RAF Benevolent Fund’s Princess Marina House where she is always given a warm welcome and it provides a break from her home and where she can chat to contemporaries and share memories.
I often time my own breaks when Joan is at PMH – it gives me peace of mind knowing she is being looked after and in safe hands.
On behalf of my mother I really appreciate the work that the RAF Benevolent Fund does for folk like her and offer my heartfelt thanks to all.
This Mother's Day she will have lunch with me, my husband, and one of her grandchildren. Following this there'll be another visit to Rustington for a further break!
By Janet Page