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Bethanie

Dorothy MacMaster, resident at Bethanie Kingsley, turns 100!

One of our lovely residents at Bethanie Kinglsey has reached her incredible centennial milestone. Dorothy MacMaster celebrated her 100th birthday with her Bethanie family on 12 February 2021.

Although the facility was in lockdown due to COVID-19 restrictions, Dorothy and the wonderful Bethanie Kingsley community celebrated with a very special morning tea, a chit chat among friends and taking turns in looking at her commemorative letter from Queen Elizabeth II.

Dorothy was born into a very different world to the one she lives in today. Born in a quintessential English cottage in a village in East Yorkshire, her family home was a converted horse stable, with one outside toilet and one bedroom to share between four siblings.

“Mum was able to play on the main road that ran through the village competing with only a few horses and carts trotting by,” laughed Dorothy’s daughter, Lesley.

Dorothy’s father unfortunately had injuries that he sustained in World War I in France on the Western Front. He refused the doctors insistence that they amputate his badly injured leg. He did survive the ordeal, although he suffered long lasting problems his whole life as a result.

Despite this, growing up in her beloved village of Walkington was happy, and a place that has always held a special place in her heart.

At the young age of 14, Dorothy left her beloved village to work as a live-in maid in a mansion in the next town of Beverley.

The hours were long and hard. Dorothy still recalls how strict the rules of etiquette were. She learned very quickly what was expected of her.

“The lady of the house took a shine to mum and she eventually became her Ladies Maid. Basically, Mum starred in her own Downton Abbey!” said Lesley.

When World War II broke out, Dorothy as 18 years of age, and successfully applied to join the Royal Air Force. When her father found out, he put a stop to her plans immediately. Having been through the horrors of World War I, one could understand his reasoning for not wanting his daughter to suffer as he did.

“To assist in the war effort, Mum found herself covering fighter plane wings with a fire-retardant tin-foil. Later, she became a mental health nurse at Broadgate Hospital. Her shifts where 12-hours on and 12-hours off,” said Dorothy’s other daughter, Alison.

“Despite her original plans being quashed, Mum has always spoken of the good times she had during those difficult war years where friendships were strong and working together was crucial. We have photographs of her enjoying the comradery with other nurses who she can still name.”

Dorothy was always a hard worker, non-complaining and adaptable to situations outside her control.

It was during her time at Broadgate Hospital that she started attending weekly dances organised on hospital grounds. Amongst those regular attendees, was a Scottish ship builder named Alex MacMaster.

Being an Ayrshire Ballroom Dancing Champion, Alex was a fantastic dancer, and whisked Dorothy of her feet. Their love flourished, and they were married in 1949. The couple later went on to have three children.

“We seem to have inherited mum’s talent of finding something that might be slightly amusing to others, quite worthy of uncontrollable fits of laughter for us,” laughed Alison.

Dorothy’s husband was a traveler and moved his family overseas not once, but twice with little funds, no job and without Dorothy’s consent. Dorothy always approached difficult situations like these with a sense of calm, and the ability to get on with life.

At age 96, the time came for Dorothy to receive a higher level of care. After visiting several different aged care homes, she finally found Bethanie Kingsley.

“When we visited Bethanie in Kingsley, she walked out saying that she felt it was a homely and kind place to live,” said Lesely.

“At age 100 I can say that I have never seen Mum look scruffy or not well groomed. We are very grateful to Bethanie Kingsley for making sure that she is always able to maintain her pride and dignity. In fact, she is always appropriately dressed for a visit from the Queen!”

Dorothy’s secret to a long and happy life is, “be nice to people because at the end of the day, people are all you have.”

For more information about Bethanie Kingsley, please call 131 151 or visit: www.bethanie.com.au/care-homes/locations/bethanie-kingsley

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