The greatest recognition of Mildred Hooke's achievements came with the award of the OBE in the New Year's 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. MIldred 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.
The taking of this photo, as Mildred pauses outside Buckingham Palace, is described below by Ella, one of Mildred's sisters.
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,
Two of Mildred's sisters, Ella and Trixie were given tickets for the presentation at Buckingham Palace. Here is Ella's detailed description of the occasion, including an extraordinarily detailed description of the beautiful, young Queen Elizabeth. Below is a transcript of a letter from Trixie to Elaine Hooke, apologising that only two people were permitted to attend with Mildred and including her description of the Queen and the occasion.
Trixie's letter to Elaine reveals that at this time in 1953 Elaine was staying at Stowford House, Guildford, clearing it after the deaths of her parents, Sir Ralph and Lady Rosa Oakden. Cyril was serving in his final tour of duty for the Army in Gernany.
A year later Mildred retired from teaching. This tribute was published in the Bradford Boys' Grammar School magazine.
Mildred retired to Cambridge to Crossways Cottage, a beautiful home in Kingston. More photos taken in 2017 are shown below. Two of her great lifetime friends were Lady Carol Farren and her husband Sir William, a great pioneer of aviation in the 20th Century. The story of his life begins 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 just a few years later in 1977. At the bottom of this page is a postcard from Mildred to her brother in 1968 describing how difficult it was to care for him in the cold weather which made him very drowsy. "W" is Sir William.
In 1969 a 21 year old nurse was employed by Lady Farren to help with Sir William's care. Jonathan Jones has kindly written an evocative account for this website about his memories of that time, as follows:
Crossways Cottage 1969
Jonathan has kindly provided this photo of the mahogany water colour paint box along with a "work-in-progress" painting by his son, Jake Jones. You can see more of Jake's beautiful work at his website, here.
Photographs of the Kingston Crossroads and Crossway Cottage, 2017. Click on a photo to enlarge and open the slideshow.
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.
TRANSCRIPT of the postcard.
To: Colonel & Mrs Hooke, The Clinches, Collington Lane, Bexhill, Sussex.
Kingston, Camb. Dec 13, 1968
This is an effort to raise money towards further restoration of the Church. I am so tired of East Wind - gets in everywhere. [crossed out: The cold makes W very sleepy] (W is William) What time do you get up in the morning? W is very sleepy this week - probably the cold though we strive to keep him warm - not enough exercise.
v m l (Very much love) Mildred
Here are some letters from Mildred to her nephew George and Valerie Hooke in the 1970s demonstrating her generosity to her family.