Blanche Packer - a very special lady
25 July 2012
It seems an age ago that women had to give up their careers when they married. However for Calibre member, Blanche Evelyn Packer, 102 years, this is exactly what she was expected to do when she married in the 1930’s. Blanche, however, was wily and wed her husband Nigel in secret so she could continue her career; she was to become the first woman to work in Rothchild’s bank.
This is one of the many anecdotes that her family and friends heard about when they gathered recently to say good-bye to this amazing lady. They also found about her generosity; she left legacies to 15 different charities including Calibre Audio Library.
In 1939 when war was declared her husband signed up but suddenly there was no news of his whereabouts. With typical determination she travelled to Delhi in search of him taking a job in the Indian Civil Service. Months after the end of the war Nigel found her in Delhi. He weighed 6 stone and had been a prisoner of the Japanese building the Burmese railway. Traumatised by his experience, he suffered acute claustrophobia which meant he needed a job working outside. So moving to a village, he and Blanche became farmers buying a herd of cattle and breeding horses. They settled in well and soon the villagers began referring to her affectionately as Pat. She also raised £40,000 to build a local Catholic church and, according to relatives, was the scourge of officialdom; councillors would quake in their boots if they received a missive from Pat Packer.
They also recall she was a great raconteur that would keep people entertained for hours with amusing anecdotes.
We thank Blanche (Pat) for remembering us in her will. Legacies are the lifeline of our charity and without the generosity of people like Blanche we would unable to help so many people enjoy our books.
If Blanche has inspired you and you would like to leave a legacy to Calibre, please call Liz Clarke, Head of Fundraising and Marketing on 01296 432 339 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
We thought you might like this picture of Blanche celebrating her centenary with cake, flowers and champagne. A very special lady indeed.