LONDON, June 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
- 'A treasure chest of letters' - Felicity Kendal CBE
Love and War in the WRNS is no ordinary memoir, although that is how it started.
When her mother died, Vicky Unwin found black bin-liners full of letters that young Sheila Mills, a Wren officer, had written to her mother during WW2. She had faithfully recorded her fascinating encounters, assignments, events and, of course, the many loves she found and lost, while chronicling her important work with Admiral Ramsay in planning the Sicily Invasions, and major events such as the The Flap, the sinking of the Medway and the Belsen Trials in post-war Germany.
Realising her mother's extraordinary legacy, Vicky determined to finish the book her mother always intended to write. But the work was interrupted by a series of catastrophes, starting with Vicky breaking her hip and being wheelchair-bound for 9 weeks; followed a year later by the sudden death of her 21-year-old daughter, Louise, from an accidental overdose of the club drug ketamine.
The book was abandoned, as Vicky's grief became focused on a national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of club drugs and legal highs. An Ambassador of the Angelus Foundation, she became the public voice on Britain's ketamine epidemic and appeared in both the national press and on radio and television programmes, including BBC Breakfast, Sunrise, Sky News, BBC News, Woman's Hour, and Channel 5 News. As a result of Angelus's campaign, the British government is set to pass laws banning the sale of Legal Highs.
A year after Louise's death, Vicky's husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer and, a year later, Vicky's father died unexpectedly. Then she herself was diagnosed with a malignant sarcoma of the calf, and was in danger of not only losing her leg, but potentially her life. She strongly believes in the link between bereavement and the development of cancer, and has written extensively about it in her blog, http://www.healthylivingwithcancer.co .
A year into her recovery she is now diving, skiing, cycling and trekking.
"Writing this book has been very therapeutic, following the spate of bereavements and illnesses we have suffered. I was determined not to dwell on my grief but to channel my energies into positive action. My mother would have been particularly delighted as she was always proud of her war-time career; and she and Louise had a special relationship. This book has been a great healer."
Vicky Unwin has had a long career in publishing. She was publisher of the African Writers Series and is a member of the Council for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Previously she was Enterprise Director for the Telegraph Group, Managing Director of PRNewswire and, most recently, Media Director for the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development. She now lives in Singapore and writes regularly for http://www.platform505.com, in addition to her two other blogs, http://www.vickygoestravelling.com and http://www.vickyatthemovies.net
Shelia Mills joined the WRNS in 1940 to escape the shackles of secretarial work and her unhappy childhood with her social-climbing mother. After completing her training in Scotland she was posted to Cairo and then to post-war Germany. After her marriage at the end of the war she travelled to Africa where she settled for many years.
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SOURCE The History Press Ltd