Spotlight on a Resident – Norah Dugdale
We met Norah on a grey and rainy Monday morning in late February, but it didn’t take long for it to brighten when Norah started to recall tales of her life.
Born on 13th May 1921, Norah will celebrate her 99th birthday this Spring and is proud to share that she doesn’t wear glasses, need a hearing aid or take any medication. A lover of the best-selling author, Danielle Steele, Norah looks forward to a Bailey’s liqueur as a weekly treat and egg, bacon and baked beans every morning!
Norah grew up in Olney, Buckinghamshire and at 18, when the war began, worked at the Bozeat Boot Company, making army boots using a clicking press to cut leather patterns, until she was called for service at the age of 21.
Starting out at Glen Parva Barracks near Leicestershire, Norah passed her field ambulance test before transferring to Longmoor Military Camp in Hampshire. “I taught ladies to drive lorries and field ambulances. I was 5’ 7”, so as a taller girl, I was also able to touch the floor on a Matchless motorcycle and hold it upright, enabling me to teach other girls to ride too.
At 24, Norah married husband Lesley who had been in the Army Medicals. They went on to have a son and a daughter, five granddaughters, and ten great-grandchildren, including identical twin girls, now aged 4.
Norah was Church Secretary for 42 years in Olney and has travelled to Australia where at 85, she saw one of her granddaughters marry on Fraser Island. “The flight was a little uncomfortable on account of my long legs, but it was worth it!” she said.
After a spell in hospital, Norah moved to Cliftonville in 2015 with minimal use in her legs. “I asked for a physiotherapist to help me,” Norah advised, “and although he (Ashley) was dubious at first, we got there together after a lot of effort and great faith, and I now get about really well with my zimmer.”
“I am a firm believer of getting out of things what you put in. I’m living proof!” Norah Dugdale
During our visit, Norah shared an emotional letter. At almost 99, we couldn’t help but notice her impeccable handwriting, for which she credited her teacher from the age of 10, Miss Eady. In the letter she says; “I can honestly say I have been treated with kindness and respect by all the staff here at Cliftonville. With my good family making sure I have everything I need, I am happy to live here in my nice room for the rest of my days”.
Article by Angela Bailey, Marketing Manager.