I remember the tea time when Anne announced to all of us, that she was going to retire and leave us.
The trainee that had been with us, would now become our houseparent. It was so sudden, we all thought she would just stay and be with us forever. As children we never knew or realised her age, I had thought of her as an old lady, but she had not actually reached retirement age, that was two years ahead.
Once it had sunk in, it was difficult to realy understand for most of the group that she was leaving us for good. I had only been with her for just over a year, for the others it had been for most of their lives.
That night there was many bouts of crying from the three older boys, it was something I could not really understand, having so many adults come and go, I did not understant the affection and bond that had been made up between Sister and the others in the family group.
Looking back on it, I'm sorry to say that in my mind, I was actually looking forward to the new Houseparent taking charge, as she seemed so much more relaxed than Anne in the way of running the flat, and on the days that Anne had taken off and was away from the flat, we had seemed to have more treats. It was a short lived thought. As soon as Anne left, we all found the true nature of our New Houseparent, I think all of us were reduced to tears, and if given the chance would have begged for Anne to return.
Anne cut more or less all contact with our family group, so the Houseparent had full control, and it gave no possible way of making contact, and telling her how the flat was now run.
As a group, we did once visit her at her retirement flat, but I think other than an Open Day, that was about the last we saw of her.
We all missed her.
It was many years later when visting Highfield, that I found out that she was still alive. The NCH office at the Oval made it possible for me to visit her in Harpenden that day.
After all those years she had not really changed. Out came the photo album, I was told the history of the older children that she had looked after. It seemed I was the first of the last batch other than Linda, that had made contact.
Over the next few years I stayed in contact, and like yourself visited her in Plymouth. I was very sad to hear the news of her illness and due to prior commitments was unable to attend her service. But she is a lady that will remain in our hearts and minds forever.
One of the true Sisters of the NCH, who gave her life for us.