Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Margaret Branch, RIP

A Brownie Guide thinks of others before herself, and does a good turn every day. This certainly was how Margaret Branch continued to lead her life and make an impact and impression on those she met.

It was a sad day at Age Concern Exeter when we heard Margaret had passed away on Friday 30th July 2010. Throughout her 90 years she had been actively involved with the pioneering young women's movement the Girl Guides. Latterly though, we had also had the privilege of getting to know her as she had been involved with Senior Voice, Age Concern Exeter’s platform for allowing older people’s voices to be heard by those in power, for over 4 years. She was a member of the Senior Voice Panel for 3 years and always contributed much to the meetings; she had a great understanding of the needs of vulnerable older people and championed the cause on many occasions.

I was honoured to spend time with her last winter when she contacted me and suggested she really wanted to walk 100 miles to raise money for Age Concern Exeter. She explained the Guiding was celebrating its centenary year and people had been challenged to make a difference to their community but to use the number 100 if they could. Margaret challenged herself to a half a mile a day walk, perhaps not a hazardous expedition that Baden-Powell might have sent his young people on in the North West frontier in India 100 years ago but a challenge no less for a nonagenarian with a walking aid on the pavements of Exeter. But determined she was and up until very recently set out for her daily constitutional. She clocked up 63 miles and had raised over £500. We are indebted to Margaret for her thoughtfulness, her sense of humour and her generosity. We are determined to complete the 100 miles in her honour and will be taking up the mantel in September to complete her challenge.

Our thoughts go out to her family and friends, a truly remarkable lady who leaves behind some fond memories and a sense of awe at her achievements.

Corinne Bailey

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