Monday, March 9, 2009


These two photographs epitomise the Cycle of Life from 0 to 110 years.

Last weekend I attended two christenings - the first of Eleanor Milligan, the 3rd chld of Philip and Katherine in the Roman Catholic church in Flitwick. On Sunday I sang in Elstow Abbey choir at the Anglican christening of Isabella Rose Sanderson. Both events were joyous family occasions attended by many relatives and children.

Elstow Abbey is a popular venue for christenings because it is a beautiful and historic church, where John Bunyan was baptised in 1628. Also we have a charismatic Vicar Jeremy Crocker and in the next 2 weeks we will have the baptisms of Natalie, granddaughter of our organist Steve McDonald and Alice, Martha and James Matthews, the triplet grandchildren of my fellow chorister Teresa.

The 2nd photo is of Margaret Fish, the oldest person in Bedfordshire who lives in Wilstead and celebrated her 110th Birthday on Friday 6 March. Sam Whitbread, the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, personally presented Margaret with her 7th telegram from the Queen. There are only 30 people aged 110 years in whole of the UK.

Margaret was born in London in 1899, the year the paper clip was invented and Coca Cola was first bottled in America. The population of Britain was only 29 million. Mrs Fish was a dressmaker, married in 1928 and moved to Bedfordshire with her husband during the 2nd World War bombings. She visited her daughter in Australia at the age of 90, lived independently in Cople until she was 104 and was still digging her garden at the age of 100! And her favourite TV programme is "Dancing on Ice".

Margaret was born during the reign of Queen Victoria and on Saturday evening I went to see the new film "The Young Victoria". Victoria became Queen when she was just 18years old and faced a daunting task, surrounded by a dominant mother and power hungry politicians and courtiers. Fortunately Victoria found the ideal husband in Prince Albert, who was intelligent and had a strong social conscience and inspired the 1951 Great Exhibiton at Crystal Palace. It was a true love match which resulted in 9 children and many grandchildren who married into most of the royal houses of Europe - Germany, Spain, Greece, Norway, Italy, Denmark,Russia, Sweden.

Victoria ruled for 64 years, the longest reign in British history and ruled an Empire which covered 25% of the world in the 19th Century. Her great granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II has followed in Victoria's footsteps, having become Queen at the age of 26 and she has reigned for 57 years.

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