Friday 3 August 1990

Triumph Over The Workhouse


Mary Baker has triumphed over disability and being sent to the workhouse at eleven years of age.

Seventy people went to Dewey House, Warminster, on the evening of Friday 27 July 1990, to honour her now that she has written a book to tell her story.

The launch and social evening swelled the funds of the National Children's Home support group in Warminster, which has raised over £1,500 since its formation last November.

The guest of honour, author Mary Baker, travelled up from her home near Poole in Dorset.

Mary was born disabled and spent the first nine years of her life in and out of hospitals. When she was eleven, her mother died suddenly and this was the break-up of family life. Mary and her six brothers found themselves separated - first in workhouses and then in children's homes until they were 21 and out of care.

Mary, because of her disablement, never thought that she would marry or have children of her own, but she did wed, and has three children. To her credit, she also went on to foster nearly 50 babies.

Her heart-rending autobiography, called With All Hopes Dashed In The Human Zoo, is published by Danny Howell Books of Warminster, hence its launch at Dewey House.

Rita Goldthorpe, regional organiser of National Children's Homes Support Groups, welcomed Mary and guests, and explained the work of the groups. She said their work was thriving, but wished it wasn't, preferring that one day there would be no need for children to be brought up in institutions.

Danny Howell explained how Mary's story had been recorded in print for posterity.

The author then signed copies of her book, which were on sale, and the retail proceeds went to NCH.

After wine and a raffle, Joan Main, chairman of the Warminster Support Group, gave a vote of thanks for an enjoyable evening. She hoped that the book would gain new friends and supporters for the National Children's Home.

The event raised a profit of £165 for NCH funds.