Wrens Walking Wales - and having fun!

Cardiff Bay - l to r AOW members Annette Penfold, Larraine Cox, Annie Lagrue & Barbara McGregor May 2017 photo credit FPRU West

Four AOW members take to the cliffs, valleys, and hills of Wales, and raise over £3,000 for WRNS100!

This was an inspirational idea from WO1 Barbara McGregor RN, who persuaded WO1 Annette Penfold MBE RNR (Command Maritime Services), former CPO Wren Radar Annie Lagrue and Leading Wren Radio Operator Larraine Cox  to join her in 'doing  something for WRNS100 and for the Welsh community'. Nothing too energetic, like running or cycling, just the challenge of walking 100 miles in 9 consecutive days from Newport, Pembs to HMS CAMBRIA RNR Unit at Sully, Cardiff! .

The walk was carefully mapped out to engage with local groups and personalities en route; ex Wren Branches, Community & City Councils, schools,  the Lord Lieut of West Glam., RN, RM, RBL personnel, naval wives, rugby club supporters, the Dean of Llandaff Cathedral, Aberfan Wives Club, Part 2 Raleigh trainees, the RNLI, ratings from HMS DRAGON, Swansea Uni URNU, plus too many more to mention.Much appreciated was the send off from Cardigan I.G., a welcome break with Pembs and Swansea Branches, and seeing so many members en route.

WO1 Barbara McGregor RN is the longest serving ex Wren (Radio Operator and MAA) who is still serving in the naval services, currently as the Regional Development Manager (Operations) Wales and Western England. She says

 “Wrens Walking Wales has achieved all the aims of our 100 mile challenge; we exceeded the target of raising £3,000 for charity, all the while integrating with local communities and spreading the message; the importance of females in the military. We managed to smile, and sing, throughout despite the weather. We estimate that we had contact with over 700 people on our journey, these included old friends, family and the public who were curious as to what we were doing. You wouldn't be surprised to know that everyone seems to have had a relative who had served as a Wren! Our humour was propped up in no small part by the unbelievable support offered to us along the way”.

The finale for the campaign was a celebratory garden party by kind permission of CO Cdr Steven Fry RNR on 21st May 2017 at HMS CAMBRIA, attended by many VIP guests including Commandant Anthea Larken CBE, Director WRNS (1989-91), Capt Ellie Ablett MBE CO of New Entry Training HMS Raleigh, Capt Mel Robinson, CO Maritime Services, Chair WRNS100 Cdr Rosie Wilson OBE, Chair AOW Carol Gibbon, WWII Leading Wren Armourer Margaret Moorcraft, and last but not least BBC Wales broadcaster, Roy Noble.

A sumptuous supply of refreshments was provided by Tesco’s and ably served by HMS CAMBRIA ship’s company. In pride of place was a large iced cake created by Jon Boreham, Wardroom Mess Manager, HMS EXCELLENT and topped by an amazing sugarcraft  panorama of ‘Wrens at work and play’! Many other events are being held during 2017 throughout the UK and overseas. Visit www.wrns100.co.uk

The exhibition, 'Pioneers to Professionals – Women and the Royal Navy', is on show at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth until the end of the year.