Updated: Jun 2, 2020

If you saw my post on Woman’s Day, you will have seen I posted a list of my top 5 influential women. Women who have shaped my thinking and who display qualities I admire & value. Another on my list is my Grandmother, for her Determination & Strength.

Her name was Wendy Felicity Walsh. She wasn’t tall and she was very slim. She had a sharp and sympathetic face. I would describe her as focused. Very focused. Hard working. Self-disciplined. Responsible. Generous. Exceptionally generous in every way. She commanded respect quietly by being the example. She knew her place. An animal & nature lover, she was a self-confessed believer in fairies, a vegetarian, and was happiest in her garden. Even after she became famous. She loved her dogs & she was a wonderful cook. Her kitchen was always warm.

My grandmother’s story is the hardest I know. Born in 1915 much of her childhood was overshadowed by war. Her parents got divorced in the early 1930’s. Extreme poverty as a young teenager inspired my grandmother to teach herself how to paint. She was a nurse in the war, married a soldier; and became a mother until at 62, she formally began her career as an artist.

Described by Professor Grenville Lucas, the ex-keeper of the herbarium & library at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London, as ‘the pinnacle of botanical art’ my grandmother received an honorary doctorate from Trinity College, Dublin at aged 83. And she never went to school.

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