Brenda receives an Armed Forces Veterans Badge for Cold War work
PUBLISHED: 17:28 04 November 2020 | UPDATED: 17:28 04 November 2020
A Newport resident has been awarded an Armed Forces Veterans Badge in recognition of her work as an Air Defence Radar Operator during the Cold War.
Brenda Smith was 18 when she was part of a team that guided fighters to hostile aircraft in British air space.
She said of the former radar station in Suffolk: “When I was young, serving at RAF Bawdsey, I used to wait until the fellas were marching to work, I would whizz past them on my bicycle and yodel at the top of my voice. This used to cause much hilarity.”
A champion freestyle swimmer for Cornwall, Brenda also represented the Royal Air Force in swimming and athletics.
One race consisted of the swimmers being taken two miles out to sea and swimming back. Brenda was known as a serial winner.
Brenda married Russell on July 6, 1957 in Charlestown church in Cornwall and in 1961 she gave birth to a daughter Alison, followed in 1962 by her son Andrew.
After the RAF, she had a varied career. She was a teacher, and then ran Quendon Pottery with her husband Russell. He give her the badge and award in person.
In the past Brenda has enjoyed ballroom dancing, as well as singing in church. Recently, Brenda joined the ‘Singing for the Brain’ group and ‘Together in Sound’ which she enjoyed going to twice a week with husband Russell.
Brenda has lived at The Grange Care Home for just over four months.
Home Manager Hayley Smith said: “Brenda was surprised and delighted to receive her award.
“Here at The Grange we recognise the importance of getting to know our residents and celebrating their life achievements, especially for those living with dementia.”
Russell said: “I would rather have Bren home with me but I know that is not possible, so I feel content with our choice.”
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