Edna Hathaway, 98, Westall House

Meet Abbeyfield Westall House resident Edna Hathaway, born in London just around the corner from Old Kent Road. When she was young her family moved to Petts Wood, where she lived very happily with her mother, a tailoress and her father, an engineer.

As an only child, Edna has very fond memories of her parents growing up. Her mother would often make clothes for her and encouraged Edna to go out and study or work. Her father wasn’t too fussed about this, and sadly died when Edna was still young. Shortly after, Edna began working as a Comptometer Operator.  

When the war broke out she joined the Civil Defence Service as a volunteer, and would go out in an old converted horse box to offer assistance during the air raids. Later, the office she was working in in Peckham was ruined by bombs, which resulted in her being evacuated along with her colleagues, to the village of Pitsford, in Northamptonshire. Despite the circumstances, she had a lot of fun in Pitsford, and would often travel home by train to visit her mother during the weekends. Edna Hathaway - Resident Real Story

After this, her life became dedicated to family. She had her first child at the age of 27 and another 3 years later. “I love children,” she says, “I’d do absolutely anything for my children.”

She retired to Eastbourne at the age of 62, where she spent three happy decades living right by the seafront with her two cousins. Here, Edna enjoyed the independence but never felt alone, as the three ladies became a tight knit family, and would meet almost everyday for coffees, walks and other social outings.

They encouraged Edna to get into tapestry which kick started a love of the craft that she still has today. She would spend hours creating beautiful tapestries of landscapes, buildings and colourful patterns. While her loss of dexterity sadly means she can no longer create the way she used to, some of her incredible artwork is still hanging in her bedroom and around the house for other residents to enjoy.

Life at Abbeyfield

After spending some time in hospital, Edna came to live at Westall House, where she has been for the past two years. It took her a while to adjust to the new way of life, but now feels like she is “one of the family here.”  

She has a fantastic relationship with the carers and is particularly fond of Molly, who always does her nails and makes sure she gets a lovely bubble bath! “You get anything you ask for here. I honestly don’t think you could get better care anywhere.”  

Today, Edna enjoys a glass of white wine and visits from her two sons, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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