Mum was the next to youngest of five, three girls and two boys, and grew up on a smallholding in Staffordshire. I have a photo of her at about five years of age, face framed in dark ringlets and dressed in a pinafore, with her eldest sister and their mother. Sadly her parents died within a few months of each other when she was about fifteen and she spent the next few years living with her sister.
Her family was not well off so, in spite of being an able student who loved school, she had to leave at the age of fourteen to start work in one of the pot banks in the Potteries but, determined not to be held back by a lack of education, she went to night school and eventually she was accepted to train as a nurse.
Whenever I complained about school or homework, she would remind me of her experiences and tell me never to forget how lucky I was. As a moody teenager, this usually fell on deaf ears. These days, I am much more aware and appreciative of her efforts.
Today she has been very much in our thoughts, never forgotten, always missed.