The story of an Alexandra Rose Day collector

We were recently contacted by the family of Kathleen (Kitty) Lillie featured in the photographs below, with a wonderful story of her life and involvement with Alexandra Rose Day, from as far back as 1912. This would make Kitty one of the very first to support our charity!

“Kitty was born in Battersea. In the 1901 census Kitty is only 3 years old, by the following census in 1911 Kitty is 12, and a patient in the Children’s Infirmary Stanley Park Road, Carshalton, Surrey (formerly Queen Mary’s Hospital For Children). She had a school playground accident as a little girl which unfortunately caused one leg to be shorter than the other. Thereafter, she had to wear a special raised boot so that she could walk properly. We think that’s the reason we see her in hospital in 1911.  

As a result of her accident, we don’t think Kitty was ever able to go out to work and in the 1939 England & Wales Register she is listed as doing: ‘Unpaid Domestic Duties’ in the family home. After both parents had died, Kitty took to running the household/cooking etc whilst her sisters and brothers-to -come, went out to work. This she did supremely well – Kitty ran an efficient and tight ship! 

Like her three sisters, Kitty worked tirelessly for the Sacred Heart RC church in Battersea, knitting, baking etc, and always doing whatever and whenever she could to help others. We feel sure the photo of her as an Alexandra Rose Day Collector is evidence of this too. There is some thought that she possibly helped to make the roses at the ‘John Groom Industrial Training Home’.

We think Kitty’s young ‘stubbornness’ enabled her to survive and thrive, living a rich and fulfilling life, finally passing on at the great age of 85. We are so proud of Aunty Kitty and her story is already being told to our grandchildren, her Great-Great Nephews & Niece. 

Thank you all at the Alexandra Rose Charity for what you do today as in the past, for Kitty. Aunty Kitty and all her Battersea family would have loved the idea of the Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg project.”

We’re very grateful to Ken and Val Lillie for sharing Kitty’s story with us and sharing these wonderful photos.