Land girls re-united for royal visit

PUBLISHED: 18:28 07 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:09 11 May 2010

Land Girls 1940s

Land Girls 1940s

TWO Land Girls who were reunited after 63 years at a county council tea party are off to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen. Childhood friends Lily Willmott and Irene Pedder joined the Women s Land Army together when they were 17 and were posted to Morde

TWO Land Girls who were reunited after 63 years at a county council tea party are off to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen.

Childhood friends Lily Willmott and Irene Pedder joined the Women's Land Army together when they were 17 and were posted to Morden Grange Farm near Ashwell.

They were billeted at Odsey and both met their husbands there during the Second World War, but the friends lost touch when their jobs on the land ended in 1946.

They met up again when Lily spotted Irene's name on the guest list at a county wide celebration for 250 Hertfordshire Land Girls at County Hall earlier this year.

Now the pair - who live within a few miles of each other in North Herts - have been invited to a tea party for 90 Land Girls from all over the country hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on October 21.

"We're really looking forward to it. We're being rewarded after 63 years with tea with the Queen!" said Lily, who lives in Steeple Morden with her husband Albert.

"We've some happy memories and it's been lovely meeting up with Irene again. We were all a merry bunch and everyone was so nice to us."

Lily met Albert at a whist drive at Odsey when he was on home leave from the Army, while Irene married William, a farmworker in the village.

Irene, who now lives in Ickleford, said: "Over the years I wondered where Lily was. We were at school together and always got on well and we still do now.

"I remember when we were children we were both frightened of cows. So when we filled in our Land Army call-up papers we said we didn't want to work with animals. But sure enough the first job we were put down for was milking duty.

"It was hard work but we had had lots of fun and I learned skills like driving a tractor. I can't believe I'm going to Buckingham Palace - and a friend is hiring a chauffeur driven Mercedes to drive us there to make the day even more special!

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