... still has a golden smile

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -


Above is Mar­garet Ash­brook as a young land­girl dur­ing the Sec­ond World War and be­low is her with her two daugh­ters and grand­sons as she cel­e­brated her 100th birth­day on March 31.

One of Den­ham’s old­est res­i­dents, Mrs Ash­brook, has lived in the heart of Den­ham Vil­lage, for 65 years.

In 2008 she re­ceived the gov­ern­ment badge of hon­our for her ser­vices to the Women’s Land Army (WLA). Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, from 1942-1946, she worked as a land-girl in East Sus­sex. She milked cows, tended pigs and chick­ens, made hay and drove the pony cart to col­lect oats from the fields for thresh­ing.

Mar­garet was em­ployed at Great Dix­ter, near Rye in East Sus­sex. For the ear­lier part of the war she also manned the ear­ly­warn­ing post at Dix­ter.

In 1941 she met Jay Ash­brook, who was with the US Army and whose friend Janey Ben­nett, in his home town of Madi­son, Wis­con­sin, was Mar­garet’s cousin. In 1948 Jay and Mar­garet were mar­ried in Lon­don and lived there for a few years. In 1952, they bought a listed build­ing in Den­ham where they brought up their two chil­dren Sue (born 1950) and Kate (1955). From then, un­til Jay’s death in 2002, they played an ac­tive part in vil­lage life.

Mar­garet’s in­ter­ests in­cluded gar­den­ing, art and needle­point. For many years, she worked as a vol­un­teer at the Na­tional Trust’s tex­tile-con­ser­va­tion work­room at Hugh­en­den Manor, restor­ing fab­rics for dis­play in Na­tional Trust prop­er­ties.

Daugh­ter Kate said: “We are de­lighted that Mum has reached this great age and is still able to en­joy life. We are grate­ful to the many friends and helpers who sup­port her and en­able her to live at home.”

Sue now lives in Bos­ton, Mas­sachusetts, where she teaches art his­tory at Les­ley Univer­sity Col­lege of Art and De­sign. Kate runs the na­tional Open Spa­ces So­ci­ety based in Hen­leyon-Thames, cam­paign­ing for peo­ple’s rights to en­joy the coun­try­side, and is the Ram­blers’ foot­path sec­re­tary for Bucks.

Mrs Ash­brook’s grand­sons (Sue’s sons) Ben and Peter live in the US and crossed the At­lantic with Sue to help cel­e­brate her cen­te­nary.

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