Helena was my Great Gran.
This wonderful lady outlived both my Nan's who both sadly died in their 62nd year. I am sad I never knew them both as the adult I am today. I strongly remember though, being hugged to my paternal Nan's bosom and remember her giggles and being spoilt with bird's eye trifles and jelly and ice cream.
So, not many memories, but the ones I do have I treasure for a lifetime.
Sitting in my Nan & Grampy's courtyard eating Jelly leftovers.
Great Gran, or Helena as I shall refer to her today, as 'Great Gran' to me is just a label, a signifier that she was someone's Grandmother and Great Grandmother. She was more than just that, so Helena to me, is the person she was. A wise, jovial, fun woman who loved life and the people around her.
Now, I wish I could tell you refer back to her life with a knowledge and memory of all the stories she ever told us about her life, but sadly I cannot, but I know it's not too late to listen to my Dad recall them.
Helena Dallaway was a extremely bright and talented child and at the age of six she featured in a newspaper article in 1912 about her 'job' and talent as an organist at her local church in Hilperton, where herself and her parents moved during her first years. Imagine that, six! So young!
Somewhere along the line, she met a handsome London metropolitan policeman Charles and they married in 1927, Helena aged 21 and Charles, 25. They had a son, George and moved back to Wiltshire, where eventually, she became headmistress of Hilperton PrimarySchool.
Left: Photo of my Gran in her cloche hat with George, My Grandad. Right: Gran (Helena) dressed in fancy dress - as a dutch girl.
Living through two world wars, she suffered tragedy in the 1960's when her husband died of diabetes which had been brought on during the war when a bomb fell onto Hyde Park and his fellow policeman that had been walking the beat with him, died.
Helena carried on another forty plus years on her own, where she tended her house, with her orchard and cats and played a loving and devoted Nan and Great Gran to her family. Eventually, she moved to a smaller house, which I remember with great fondness. Myself and my Mum would go there weekly where my Mum would help to clean and cook and I would sit and listen to my Gran talk with ease about everything and anything, the past, the present, and about everyone! Eventually I would end up this great lady's front room which constantly lured me in. I would sit for hours in the musky scented room,looking through photos, books, cameras, records, ephemera. Every week I did this, I never got bored!
Eventually, Helena had to be moved to a nursing home and she died at the grand old age of 98 in 2004.
My lovely Gran.
I am so proud to have had such a person in my life and my family.