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‘The Peter Pan of pensioners’ - tributes paid to a wartime Land Girl

PUBLISHED: 11:52 09 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:01 09 February 2018

Dorothy Rose, in her days with the Women's Land Army. Picture: Courtesy of Peter Riches

Dorothy Rose, in her days with the Women's Land Army. Picture: Courtesy of Peter Riches

Archant

She was one of the region’s last surviving Land Girls, working tirelessly on a farm through the war years to keep the country fed.

Dorothy Rose, in her days with the Women's Land Army. Picture: Courtesy of Peter RichesDorothy Rose, in her days with the Women's Land Army. Picture: Courtesy of Peter Riches

And now Dorothy Rose, of North Walsham, has passed away aged 98.

Nephew, Pete Riches, said his aunt was fondly remembered by the many who knew her for her energy and charm.

Mr Riches, 69, said: “She was the Peter Pan of pensioners. When she’d come over to visit me there was a big lake with a railway track around it that the little kids used to ride and she’d jump right in with my little boy Justin when he was 10. She never grew up in that sense.”

Born and raised north Norfolk market town, Mrs Rose married her next-door neighbour and childhood sweetheart, Don Griffin, in 1946. He sadly died three years later, but she married again, to Joseph Rose, in 1952, and they had 53 years together until he died in 2005.

Dorothy Rose, in her days with the Women's Land Army. Picture: Courtesy of Peter RichesDorothy Rose, in her days with the Women's Land Army. Picture: Courtesy of Peter Riches

Mrs Rose worked for many years at Loads haberdashery, and she was herself a keen knitter and crafter, along with her other great pastime, music.

Mr Riches said: “She would always be there in the music room on the piano - Mocking Bird Hill was one of the favourites.”

Mrs Rose originally lived in Vicarage Street and later in Bacton Road. She spent her final years at Rosemeadow care home in Yarmouth Road.

Mr Riches said: “She was well-known around North Walsham until the last couple of years when she struggled to get about.

Dorothy Rose.  Picture: Courtesy of Peter RichesDorothy Rose. Picture: Courtesy of Peter Riches

“A lot of people knew her - she had a smile to light up the room.”

Neil Storey, who was related to Mrs Rose through her first marriage, wrote a book about the Home Front during the war which he dedicated to her.

A copy was presented to Mrs Rose by three girls dressed up as members of the Women’s Land Army at a special ceremony.

Mr Storey said: “Like many who did their bit in the war it was a part of her life she was very proud of.”

Dorothy Rose, on the day of her wedding to second husband Joseph Rose in 1952, taken outside the Sacred Heart Church, North Walsham Picture: Courtesy of Peter RichesDorothy Rose, on the day of her wedding to second husband Joseph Rose in 1952, taken outside the Sacred Heart Church, North Walsham Picture: Courtesy of Peter Riches

He said she worked with heavy horses during her time as a Land Girl.

Mr Storey said: “In wartime you couldn’t get tractors everywhere or the petrol to run them, so they used horses to till the land to keep Britain fed.

“She was very well-esteemed for those skills. She was a remarkable lady from a modest generation and she was genuinely fun to be with.”

Mrs Rose’s funeral will take place on Monday, February 12 at 2pm at the Sacred heart Church in North Walsham.


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