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#RealPeople #Reallives – Ivy

Retirement Living - interesting resident story - Ivy Land Army

At 91 years young Ivy has a wonderful #LifeStory to share…

Ivy was born in 1928, in Lancashire - now part of greater Manchester and at 17 she joined the Land Army. She remembers leaving the house, on her first day, “feeling like a cowboy” with her Land Army uniform and the big “cowboy” hat.

Ivy went to live in Radnorshire which is now part of Powys where she met three girls who she became very close friends with. Sadly they have since passed away but Ivy still recalls the days when they lived together in wooden huts (sleeping in bunks with 16 other girls) with a separate shower area. Some mornings were very cold and the frost would freeze on the inside of the building so they would often snuggle up next to the hot water boiler to keep warm.

Ivy also remembers a prisoner of war camp that was not too far away, where some of the German men would sometimes walk from, down to Land Army camp to speak with the women. Ivy explained that “People who worked on the land in Germany would very often have mental health problems, so the men speaking to us thought that we would be the same”.

During her time in the Land Army, Ivy undertook lots of manual labour including threshing grain into a machine and when doing that she would always be very wary of the mice and rats who might get up her trouser leg!

Ivy meet her first husband Karl who was from Germany, whilst in the Land Army and after three years, at the age of 20, they moved back to her home town.

Back at home Ivy started work at Fairey Aviation works, which was quite top secret as they were working on a new aeroplane. The company soon found out that Karl was German and unfortunately, Ivy was sacked. She remembers being treated as if she was a German spy and says: “It was very hard to get a job or keep a job once people knew about Karl” So together they moved to Kington in Herefordshire, where they built a house and started a family.

After her marriage sadly broke down, Ivy moved back to Manchester with her children and later settled down in Cardigan in Wales. Then, many years later, she came to live in one of our retirement living schemes in Leominster.

Nowadays, despite her current health issues, Ivy is able to live an independent life with the support our colleagues who work at the scheme.

She finds comfort and reassurance from the visits of our Service Delivery Officers (SDO’s) who have been able to provide her with holistic support and signpost her to the specific care agencies, who now help with her cleaning and shopping.

Our SDO’s also support Ivy to make her various doctor and hospital appointments and she says her “SDO’s have been able to explain things to me in a way that make sense. This has been so uplifting.”

Ivy has made new friends and feel much less lonely now she is settled and she’s a regular at the fortnightly Art Group (something she really enjoys doing) – the scheme recently held an art project where a local artist came along to run an intergeneration art session which Ivy thoroughly enjoyed.

It’s so wonderful to be able to share so many amazing life stories from residents in our retirement living schemes and we hope you’re enjoying reading them as much as we are!