About Eileen (Peggy)
Peggy has lived in Suffolk all her life. She was born in the village of Icklingham near Mildenhall where she grew up as the third oldest in a family of 11 children.
“Our family almost filled the village school!” Peggy said. “There would be seven or eight of us going to school together from our house, whereas most families would be sending just two or three.”
When Peggy left school she spent a short while working at Culford School in Bury St Edmunds, looking after the boarding school boys, before signing up to the Women’s Land Army in 1942 during the Second World War.
“I was 18 when I signed up and I was sent to work on a farm in Thetford, so not too far from home. It was hard work – I was responsible for a herd of cows, milking them and making butter and cheese, then weighing it out at two ounces for rationing. I was proud to be a Land Girl and I made some great friends.”
Peggy was lucky to be working on the farm when the Queen paid a visit.
“Oh it was so wonderful to meet Her Majesty!” Peggy said. “People used to say I looked like the Queen when I was young, you could say we looked like sisters! I met her when she was just a young girl like the rest of us, she treated us as if she knew us all and it was lovely.”
After the war, Peggy met her husband Fredrick Charles and they bought a traditional post-war ‘lath and plaster’ house in Higham. Peggy has two children, Derek and Pauline, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren who all visit her regularly.
Life at Care UK’s Mildenhall Lodge
Peggy moved in to Mildenhall Lodge in June 2015, a year after the new home opened, and she loves family visits as well as flower arranging and spending time in the home’s hair salon getting her hair and nails done.
One important thing that keeps Peggy moving is music.
“I love music and I always have. When I was younger my brother taught me to play the mouth-organ and I still play it, I carry one in my pocket with me all the time. I can play the National Anthem and Jingle Bells, and I can yodel too! During the Land Army some of the girls taught me to yodel and I love it – though my son isn’t so keen!
“I like to join in the musical activities here at Mildenhall Lodge, we have entertainers and musicians visit and we often have a sing-song or play some instruments. Music lifts the spirits!”
What have you learned over the last 90 years?
“Growing up in a big family I learned that everyone needs to help out and be there for each other, and think of other people too. That’s the advice I’d give to the younger generation – think of others and lend a helping hand when you can.”
How do your experiences compare with the Queen’s?
“Family is so important to me and I think the Queen shares that feeling.”
Birthday message for the Queen
“Happy 90th birthday Your Majesty!”