Two residents at RMBI Care Co. Home Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh Court, a care home in Wokingham, recently visited their local branch of the Women’s Institute for an inspiring evening. Gladys and Angela, accompanied by Activities Coordinator Sharon Fletcher, were invited to a talk called “Extraordinary Women from MERL (Museum of English Rural Life) and University of Reading”.
The talk focused on both well-known and less celebrated women, including Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor (politician), Lady Evelyn Balfour OBE (pioneer of organic farming), Jill Betts (educator and researcher), Nora Doreen Thorpe (land army woman), Lavina Smith (teacher and collector) and Elizabeth Waterhouse (artist). All six, who led fascinating lives and careers, had links to the locality.
Residents Gladys and Angela found the talk inspiring. “It was so interesting hearing about local women and the history of Reading,” said Angela. “I lived in Reading all my life and to hear about how my grandparents and family lived was emotional, especially hearing about the famous Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory. I can still remember the tempting sweet aroma from the factory and the treats we would share at home!”
It was also a very special evening for Gladys, as she was turning 95. She said: “Everyone was so kind! I even received a lovely card and a cake to celebrate my birthday, and all the ladies sang “Happy birthday” to me. It was a wonderful end to a lovely day.”
Activities Coordinator Sharon Fletcher, who has been a member of the Women’s Institute for many years, said: “The Museum of English Rural Life explores the history of the English countryside and its people, so we are arranging a trip in the near future to motivate our residents. Bringing back memories and sharing these among residents and staff will add to our varied activities programme at Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh Court.”