During World War II, Mansfield born Mabel Humby noticed that the German Prisoners of War held locally were going pretty hungry. Granted, they were “the enemy”, but she also knew they were human, and she felt increasingly sorry for them, as they did their daily work, yellow diamonds sewn on to their uniforms. Rationing meant she had little to give her own family, but nevertheless, she managed to save some food, which she gave to prisoners she saw.
Decades later, Mabel’s family were in crisis themselves. They were miners, and the miner’s strike of the 1980’s meant they themselves often went hungry. News of their situation gradually filtered over to Europe, and one day the family were astonished to receive a food parcel, the first of many, containing necessities and luxuries, including venison.
The families of the POWs Mabel had fed had never forgotten her kindness, and when they realised her family was in need, they took action to help. War kills people, but not humanity.
This is just one of the lovely stories I was told by the wonderful Forest Town WI, whom I gave a Patchwork Lives talk for last night. They were so welcoming and hospitable, and I had a great time. After weeks of feeling trapped, filling in funding applications, this was the perfect experience to remind me that I love my job.
We talked about the need for role models, and how older-generations having been slightly disenfranchised by a growing tendency to see them as a problem, rather than invaluable contributors able to teach the young about life. This is part of the reason for Patchwork Lives. And gradually, word is getting around. We’ll be announcing more tour dates soon.
So I give you today’s “Inspiring Woman”: the humanitarian, Mabel Humby.