Sisters at Friends of the Elderly’s Orford House Care Home Celebrate International Day of Friendship.
At Orford House, the Coulsdon-based residential care home run by charity Friends of the Elderly, sisters Marguerite and Adrienne Lawrance, have been celebrating this year’s International Day of Friendship by reminiscing and talking about their close bond, their long and happy lives together, strong friendship and love for each other.
The sisters, who have been residents at Orford House for just over a year, are the epitome of the lyrics from the song ‘Sisters’ from the 1954 film White Christmas. They really have ‘stuck together through all kinds of weather,’ are ‘caring and sharing’ and ‘are two different faces’ that sometimes ‘act and think like one.’
Marguerite, 91-years-old, and Adrienne, 89-years-old, moved to Orford House together in May 2021 on the recommendation of their doctor. Throughout their lives, they have remained inseparable, doing everything together – living together, holidaying together and being each other’s Best Friend.
Born in Sutton, Surrey to George and Mabel, they had a happy childhood growing up. This continued after they moved to Hayes in Middlesex when their Father changed jobs and moved the family from the south of the capital to the west.
They attended Pinkworth School in Hayes and whilst Adrienne says she ‘didn’t like school at all,” the sisters did enjoy a range of classes.
Marguerite loved the Sewing, Embroidery, Needlework, English and History lessons, with Adrienne preferring Cookery, Piano and Singing – but they both agree that the Music lessons were their joint favourite.
“Music was a family affair,” said Marguerite. “Our Father was a wonderful pianist and our Mother had a beautiful singing voice. We had many happy times singing and dancing around our piano.”
During World War II, when the sisters were nine and seven, they recall the sound of the air raid sirens and going to the air raid shelters. “Our teachers were very kind and to keep us children calm, they gave out Barley Sugar sweets, but that didn’t stop us hearing the sounds of war outside and above us – the fighter planes, Doodle Bugs and explosions. Strangely, we were never scared. I suppose that’s because we had each other,” said Adrienne.
When the sisters left school, Adrienne worked for an insurance company in The City of London and Marguerite as a Clerical Assistant for a popular beverage company, in Putney. Marguerite continued with her love of needlework and says that one of her biggest achievements was being able to make her own clothes. All the school cookery classes paid off as Adrienne became a very good cook. The sister’s love of music and singing also never left them, as they were both members of an amateur dramatic society and took part in many performances.
The sisters are devoted to each other and say that they hardly ever disagree or quarrel, they just enjoy each other’s company, every day. The loving sisters agree that their best quality is how they look out for one another. “If either of us feels a little down on a day, the other one will cheer her up,” said Adrienne. “Adrienne is more patient than me, but we do encourage each other to pull it together, to get moving and take part in the activities with our friends, the other residents, at the care home,” added Marguerite.
Both Marguerite and Adrienne enjoy food and different dishes, with their particular favourites being roast dinners and curries accompanied by a nice cold glass of sweet, white wine followed by a Cappuccino and cake – but spinach is definitely never on the menu as neither sister can stand it.
“If we were to host a dinner party to celebrate International Day of Friendship and be able to invite any guests – dead or alive – to join us, I’d ask all our Orford House friends and Frank Sinatra, who could entertain us with his wonderful voice,” said Adrienne. “I think I’d ask Pavarotti and the actress Deanna Durbin. I loved her singing and her films such as Mad About Music and Three Smart Girls. I think she’d have lots of fun stories to share that everyone would enjoy,” added Marguerite.
Both sisters are thoroughly happy living together at Orford House and say the care they receive is ‘very good.’ They both love taking part in their favourite activities – singing, art classes, flower arranging, quiz nights, as well as attending the care home’s themed events and keeping active in the group seated exercise classes and when possible, going out for day trips.
“The other day, one of the other residents asked us what our secret was? Why are we so happy together? We both agreed that having each other as a best friend, living fulfilled lives, being healthy, having nice friends and doing nice things together was the answer,” concluded Adrienne.