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Dame Patricia honours WVS founder Stella Reading

By: stagedoorscribbler - August 14, 2017

Dame Patricia Routledge - Photograph: Hattie Miles

Who better to unveil a new English Blue Plaque  in honour of Stella reading, the funder of the WVS than Patricia Routledge?

The veteran actress, Clive Conway Productions Favourite and one time West End and Broadway musical theatre star, was a child when Reading founded the formidable volunteer force back in the 1930s.

But she has gone on to represent, in the eye of the nation, the kind of reliable, redoubtable spirit that made the Women's Voluntary Service such a force for the can-do spirit that helped us survive World War II.

Stella Reading started the WVS -  now known as the WRVS - in a single room in 1938. Four years later it had a million members and was soon dubbed “the Army Hitler forgot.”

Patricia Routledge who was made a Dame in last year’s New Year Honours list will no doubt be aware of Stella Reading’s illustrious history in the House of Lords. As a life peer she became the first woman to take a seat in the upper chamber in her own right.

Unveiling the plaque at the WVS wartime headquarters in Tothill Street , Westminster, which is now a hotel Dame Patricia said: “The women of the WVS made great sacrifices for this country, but the breadth of their contribution has been hidden from view until now.”

No longer will that be the case. there is know an online archive devoted to the organisations history and work.

Full details at: