The Washerwoman

Monday 15 March 2010

Farewell to a special person

This lovely photograph is a lady called Cynthia Wheeler MBE pictured in 1940 when she was just 15 and a volunteer for the Red Cross. It was a harrowing time for a young woman and she would tell me how she used to write letters for the injured patients. From that time she has worked tirelessly raising money for the British Red Cross. In her latter years she was forced to give up her post in the medical equipment service, but still worked from home to raise funds. She was a great knitter and in recent years has made dozens of beautiful knitted colourful berets for me (taken from a 1940's pattern that I found for her) and covered hundreds of old fashioned wooden coat hangers with knitted covers in a fantastic range of colours. These hangers have protected my delicate stock of vintage clothes. They have been admired and purchased by buyers for companies such as Cath Kidston.. and several were even used in the wardrobe on the set of Nanny Mcphee! Everything I have purchased from Cynthia has been enjoyed and passed on to my customers, and of course Cynthia donated all the money to the British Red Cross. Sadly, this wonderful person passed away this week.  I will miss my visits to her home and our little chats about the "state of the world" (and of course the nursing profession!)


Sal said...

I'm glad that a little bit of Cynthia will live on in your collection and also in other people's homes.

It was lovely to see you on Saturday! ;-)
Mr S enjoyed his weekend tremendously ..LOL!
Have a great week ;-) x

Country Cottage Chic said...

I am sorry to read about your friend Lizzie.


Katie said...

That's such sad news, Cynthia sounds like she was one in a million. Katie x

Vera Amos said...

Such a shame, for you. But you have some beautifully handcrafted pieces to remember her by.
All the best
Nicky x

Midsummer Stitches said...

that is sad these people are so missed.

elegancemaison said...

How sweet of you to remember Cynthia on your blog. I guess it will sound a chord with many of us, as increasing numbers of her generation are leaving us each year now. So lovely to realise that she contributed her talents to the modern world of fashion, and film right to the end of her days. I am sure that she must have treasured your friendship and the way you clearly brightened her old age with your interest in her. A sad time for you, but nice moments to remember.Cx

Donna Flower said...

Oh no Lizzie, I am so sad to hear about Cynthia. I adore her berets and have my lovely pink one, which I wear regularly.

She will be missed :-(

BusyLizzie said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments. xx

Trixie@ the vintage bothy said...

How very sad, but what an interesting person to know, it's not often that you come across someone like Cynthia. You were very lucky to find her.

Josie-Mary said...

How sad but good her makes will live on.

A Bun Can Dance said...

Hi Lizzie
So sorry to hear about your lovely friend passing away. She sounds like and amazing lady and talented in many ways.
Take care,
Denise x

Miss Becki said...

this is very touching to read. it makes me so happy to know she was loved by so many people. she was one of my rolemodels in life. she was brilliant women, who voluntered most of her life to the Red Cross, and wouldn't let anyone stop her. she is dearly missed by everyone who knew her.