Mildred Hooke - OBE & Retirement
Perhaps the greatest achievement of Mildred's life was the award of the OBE in the New Years Honours List of 1953, announced on 30th December 1952. Perhaps it had added significance as this was the first Honours List since the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. She was now already a respected JP in Bradford.
Here is how her name appears in the Wikipedia list:
Mildred Alice Hooke, J.P., Headmistress, Bradford Girls' Grammar School.
This photo tells the story as Mildred pauses outside Buckingham Palace on her great day.
By coincidence, one of her pupils from her earliest years of teaching, Christine Savery, received the MBE on the same day! Here is a transcript of a letter Mildred wrote to her former pupil:
THE GIRLS’ GRAMMAR SCHOOL, BRADFORD
27 - 1 - 53
How delightful that we should share this occasion! I am so much pleased about your decoration & I thank you all for your congratulations on mine. How good those K.E. days were! It was a pleasure to have news of you all. I remember you well. I wonder whether by good fortune we shall meet at the Palace. I have heard to-day that I am to go there on Feb. 24. Do let me hear about you.
With greetings & most kind remembrances to you all,
A year later Mildred retired from teaching. The following tribute was published in the Bradford Boys' Grammar School magazine.
Mildred retired to Cambridge to Crossways Cottage, a beautiful home in Kingston. Two of her great lifetime friends were Lady Carol Farren and her husband Sir William, a great pioneer of aviation in the 20th Century. His story will be told here. Shortly after Carol's sad death, Mildred took the momentous step for a lady in her 70s of marrying Sir William and becoming Lady Farren. By this time Sir William's health was deteriorating and for the larger part of their marriage all reports state how faithfully Mildred cared for the ailing knight. He died in 1970 and Mildred a few years later in 1977.
I had already completed much of my research on my Great Aunt MIldred, Lady Farren, when a thick envelope marked "Mildred" came into my possession. This had been retained by her younger sister Ella and then, on her death, passed on to my Granny Hooke, after whose death it then passed into the possession of my Uncle John Hooke, and now to me.The envelope contained the greatest possible tribute to a notable lady; seventeen letters from people, staff and pupils who had so greatly appreciated her, and wrote to express this, on hearing of her death.
I have transcribed two of them here already, referring back to Mildred's Birmingham days. You can read these letters of affection here. They are a wonderful tribute to a wonderful lady but it is sad to think that, in these days of electronic communication, it is unlikely that such tributes of current generations will endure in this way, even if they are expressed.
Finally, below is an assorted album of 18 photos derived from many sources showing my Great Aunt Mildred enjoying happy days with her family: her brother Cyril, sisters Ella & Trixie, and later on with my own Dad George (her nephew), my Mum Valerie and me (Graham) and my twin sister (Kathy) when we were babies.
Mildred and her family
An album of photos of Mildred and her family, from the 1920s to the 1970s.
Hooke brother and sisters; Trixie, Mildred and Cyril 1924. Cyril was back in England between tours of duty in India.
The Hookes then and today love the mountains. Easter Sunday 1924, Cyril & Mildred at Pen y Pas, Snowdon.
Easter Day 1924, Cyril & Mildred just beneath the summit of Snowdon.
Sisters Ella & Mildred climbing Snowdon, Easter Day 1924
Ella & Mildred descending from Snowdon, Easter Day 1924.
Mildred leading the way - ski-ing holiday, unknown location and date.
June 1933: Mildred with nephew, Ralph Herbert, five years into her time as Head Mistress in Bradford.
June 1933: Mildred & Cyril with nephew, Ralph Herbert, Bradford.
June 1933: The Herberts - Anne, Dorothy, Ralph & Margaret with Mildred & Cyril Hooke, Bradford.
June 1933: En route to the Lakes - Cyril & Mildred at Bandon Bridge, near Bolton Abbey.
June 1933: Grasmere, Mildred takes the oars while Cyril relaxes!
June 1933: Cyril & Mildred beside Grasmere.
Mildred & Granny Elaine Hooke with her sons, George & John on bikes. Location unknown. Date approx. 1934.
Mildred helping George learning to ride his bike.
1954, the year of Mildred's retirement. Mildred is holding Kathy (my twin), flanked by Granny Hooke and Great Aunt Ella. In the foreground are my mum, Valerie Hooke and I (Graham).
1954: Twins, Kathy and I, securely held by Granny (Elaine) & Grandpa (Cyril) Hooke with Mum (Valerie Hooke) and Mildred.
1954: Six Hookes - Granny, Ella, Mildred & Cyril with twins, Kathy & Graham. Grandpa had a sure, but unorthodox grip on me!
1954: Granny Elaine, Ella, Grandpa Cyril and Mildred Hooke.