Memories of Celebrations and Events

An activity exploring memorable moments in our lives

By Domenico Trillo

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Memories of Celebrations and Events' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Memories of Celebrations and Events' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Memories of Celebrations and Events' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Memories of Celebrations and Events' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus archive

Over the summer period of 2009 a group of men and women met each week to discuss celebrations and special events in their lifetime.  Textile artist Sandrine Case led the project to produce a wonderful piece of bunting celebrating events in people's lives and ranging from weddings to Christmas and special events like England winning the world cup.

Each week we talked about a variety of topics as the bunting was produced using fabric pens and screen printing and as a result these are the stories which unfolded.


Hilda Tenwick

I don't think anyone could have had as disappointing a wedding day as I had but the marriage lasted for 58 years and the best part was the 26 years retirement. 

I was married on August 3rd 1939 . I left work on the Saturday and the Sunday was a wonderful day.  We went to a warehouse in London to buy the new furniture for our house.  We bought everything but the kitchen sink.  Next day I was not at all well and went to the doctor.  He said I had a terrible throat and told me to go to bed straightaway but I said I can't because I'm getting married in 10 days.  I had tonsilitis.  My sister Ivy came because I was very poorly.  Next my dad called out 'I'm haemorraging'.  My sister went to fetch the doctor because there was no telephone!  The doctor came everyday and said that Dad couldn't give me away at the wedding.  My brother-in-law gave me away.

My wedding day came and it poured with rain and the wind blew.  It should have been a hot summer's day.  I was married at Minster Abbey a tiny church on top of a hill on the Isle of Sheppey.  I had no veil but I bought a bonnet from a London shop when I saw the material for my dress in John Lewis.  It had tiny flowers in the georgette and I loved the taffeta underlining which rustled when I walked.  I knew exactly what I wanted and had it made.  I had lace mittens with it and wore a white dress with tiny little flowers.  One little girl was bridesmaid - sadly she died when she was 39 years old.

A flip across to Bristol in a plane was to be the highlight of my honeymoon but my husband took the bug and we didn't go.  He was very poorly and quite delirious.  The house wasn't ready for us.  Then he went back to work.  I wore a raincoat over my going away outfit but no one could see it!!  We had a reception for 33 people and ham and tongue were served as part of the menu.  We hired a hall for it.  Then at 2.30pm we left for our honeymoon. 


Alan Shorter

I recall my own wedding day which was a celebratory occasion.  I was scared stiff and I couldn't wait to get away from everyone else and for the ceremony to be over.  We had a happy marriage and celebrated 54 years together.

A special event as a boy was hooking a pike with a hand-line but the fish was so strong it got away and I fell backwards landing on my back in the mud.  Hooking it was a special moment for me.  I was only about 10 years old.

Seeing green grass on my return from India was such a welcoming site and I can remember it now.  That was a wonderful sight.

A special moment; the midwife walking down the corridor next to my wife with a baby under each arm (my twin sons)and what came into my head was 'Crikey are they mine?' and 'what on earth am I going to do when we are left alone with them?'

Playing cards during the London Blitz - there was a big bang outside I was 15 years old and in the country.  I saw airmen coming down in their parachutes safely.  I recall those moments and they were special ones.


Betty Pegg

Betty recalled a special day in her lifetime when she was at the Festival Hall.  Two special events took place.  One was the Queen's Coronation and the second was the return by the team who had conquered Mount Everest .

'I was selling programmes there for London County Council.  On the landing the whole team stood, still with their camping equipment.

On stage Tensing stood holding the flag.  They all signed the programmes, looking rough and tired out.  Hillary looked very burly, Sir John Hunt (with whom I went up in the lift) was there too.  I was tired because I had been to work that day but it was all such fun and so glamorous, I was about 23 years old.

We all wore black, looking as smart as possible.  The ballet was often on and I recall Anton Dolin was dancing at the time and I often saw the rehearsals.  On one occasion Princess Alice was in the Royal Box.  I was always keen to go up for anything.  The actual carpet which was first laid was bat and ball and little pieces of it are being sold in the gift shop.  It was a wonderful day.'


Daphne Knight

'Oh I remember an occasion which took place only five or so years ago but it was a day I had dreamt of all my life.  It was the 24th June and I went to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party.  You see I had been a 'nippy' at Joe Lyons, I was a waitress and it was somewhere you would just nip in and nip out of.  I also worked at Buckingham Palace for parties, also the Chelsea Flower Show too.  30 of us girls were chosen.

Another time was when Joe Lyons celebrated a 90th Anniversary at the Waldorf Hotel and I was invited by Richard Whitemore who also attended (I have pictures of us dancing together).  Tea parties were given for soldiers (of World War I and II and some of these poor men came with burns and missing limbs.  We cheered them up and used lipstick to write on them; big lips and kisses on the tops of their heads.  They were often jolly.

I also went to big occasions at Wimbledon when members of the Royal Family were there I do remember the delicious strawberries and cream and champagne!  Frilly knickers Gorgeous Gussie was there that famous day when her outfit caused such a fuss and I was too. '


Beryl Slade

54 years ago when I got married my dress cost just £6 not the hundreds and thousands they do today.  My husband and I had been together day and night for all those years and we were so close.  He would never have dreamt of going off to do something on his own.  We always did everything together.

In a few days time it would be my late husband's 78th birthday which reminds me of his birthday when he was 22 and he and I got engaged when I was 17.  John had just come to the end of his national service in the RAF when I met him in Virginia Water Railway Station where he worked in the booking office as a clerk.

He introduced me to Big Band Concerts.  Ted Heath was his favourite.  We went to Reading to see Jack Parnell's Band for our engagement.  We had a good life together.

One special day my husband came home from work and told me he had something in the box for me.  It was a puppy!  It was adorable. 

Someone had come to the ticket office with a puppy she didn't want anymore and didn't know what to do with.  My husband said he knew someone who would love it!  She was a lovely puppy and we had her for many years.  It was a lovely day and a special event I will always remember.


Amy Harvey

Amy's wedding was held at St Stephen's Church, Westminster where we lived.  We recently had a reunion and we took our vows for a second time and it was televised.

I used to work for the Church Army for 7 years as an orderly.

One day the Queen Mother came to a service and sat in the second row from the front leaving the row behind empty.  My husband and I sat in the row immediately behind the empty one with another couple.  I remember the occasion very well.

While I was working in the Army and Navy stores in Victoria - I was working in the gardening section - the Duchess of Gloucester came in and bought some wire netting for a rabbit run.

I seem to recall seeing quite a few members of the Royal family over the years.  My friend and I both had very young children and we often went with our pushchairs and prams to the various parks, Green Park , Hyde Park - in fact just about all the parks in London .  We went

to take the fresh air because we lived in flats.  We were often amongst the nannies taking the royal babies out.  I went to Harrods alone one day and was asked to run around the corner for some filming being carried out by Esther Rantzen and I knocked over 6 bottles of milk - a man dressed as an ape was chasing after me!

Another occasion I remember was when my daughter was three years old and we were out for a picnic in Battersea Park .  At 5 o'clock the Park Keeper asked us to go to the gate as a programme was being made.  I carried my baby through the turnstile buying some nuts.  While we were there we fed lambs with milk and we appeared on television.

Quite a TV star.

This page was added by Domenico Trillo on 08/02/2010.

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