World Book Day 2019: Meet Gracewell of Sutton Resident and Author, Marjorie Inkster

Gracewell  |  March 7, 2019

Marjorie, 97 years old, was born on 7th August 1921, to Scottish parents in Liverpool, where her father was a banker. She had an older brother, Fraser and an older sister called Brenda.

Marjorie left school in the summer of 1939 just before the start of World War II, when she joined up as a FANY (First Auxiliary Nursing Yeomanry) in 1940. While on weekend leave, that year, her home received a direct hit from a 1000lb bomb during an air raid on Liverpool Docks. Her home was completely demolished and the family, who had been sheltering beneath the stairs, had to be dug out from the rubble which took many hours. Miraculously they and the family dog were unscathed.

In the autumn of 1946 Marjorie attended Westfield College in Hampstead where she took an English Degree. After this, she attended Cambridge University in 1949 for postgraduate training in Theology. Following her second degree she joined the RAF as a chaplain. She resigned her commission in 1950 to take a further qualification at the London School of Economics  (LSE) in the field of Mental Health.

In 1951 she became Chaplain & Assistant to Lesley Weatherhead at the City Temple. Two years later in 1953 she relinquished this position to return to the LSE to attend a further specialist two year course in Mental Health following which she became a Psychiatric Social Worker at two of London’s primary Hospitals (University College & Barts). Marjorie then joined the rapidly developing NHS in both Hackney & Harrow where she was responsible for all staff development and training. She was appointed a member of the Management Committee from which she retired in 1982 to look after her sister Brenda who had developed breast cancer.

The sisters moved to the charming village of Bampton in Oxfordshire where Marjorie lived until July 2017. She then moved to Gracewell of Sutton following a stroke. She was a firm participant in community life, a significant contributor to charitable causes and a locally feared Bridge player who with her partner Daphne, two years her senior, won the Bampton Ladies Tournament when they were both in their nineties!

In March 2018, Marjorie was Guest of Honour at a Buckingham Palace Reception to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the formation of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.E.M.E). It was fitting that she was welcomed by the first woman to command the Regiment, Colonel Clare Phillips and where she was presented to Prince Michael of Kent who was representing Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. Marjorie had known Princess Marina, the Duke of Kent’s mother, during the war.

Marjorie who never married has led a remarkably full life. She wrote an autobiography at 84 years old entitled  Bow And Arrow War’ – From FANY to Radar in World War II. A truly fascinating woman and Gracewell of Sutton are proud to have her as a resident.