To honour International Women’s Day on 8 March, a resident at Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court, in Braintree, Essex, recalls her own experiences growing up during the end of the Second World War. She says:
Throughout my childhood, we always made the best of what we had.
I can remember the street parties to celebrate the end of the war and the tables laden with food. I wore a lovely fairy queen outfit for the children’s fancy dress parade.
Shirley was born in Tilbury, Essex, on 22 March 1940, and she grew up in her family’s flat in Canning Town. Her father was in the Merchant Navy and her mother worked at a company that recycled sackcloth. Shirley attended the local school and remembers playing in the street and places that had been bombed during the war.
A keen swimmer, she represented her school at competitions, and she later continued to enjoy swimming as a pastime. Shirley was an active member of her local social club at Canning Town’s Dockland Settlement, where she was able to meet new people and make friends.
Resident Shirley during a coastal adventure in her younger days. She and her husband Charlie travelled extensively, including around Europe and South America.
At age 15, Shirley joined the team of sugar packers at the Lyle refinery in Plaistow, where the tins of Lyle’s Golden Syrup were first manufactured. She went on to marry her husband, Charlie, and together, they travelled extensively to places, including mainland Spain and Majorca, and enjoyed cruises around the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Red Sea and South America. They raised five children together and today, Shirley cherishes the time spent with her family, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
To mark International Women’s Day, Shirley simply tells women:
Enjoy life because it goes by so quickly.
When asked her secret to a long and happy life, Shirley smiles and says:
Having such a loving and supportive family.
[Summary: A resident at Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court, in Braintree, Essex, recalls her own experiences growing up during the end of the Second World War.]