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    Maria Claydon

    I am very honoured to be asked to write something for Karen’s Centenary. I met Karen at a WEA evening class in History, many years ago. We immediately clicked and had a rapport, and after a few weeks of classes she asked me if I would visit her at her home. Of course I agreed that I would love to.

    From my very first visit to Karen, I was made very welcome by her and her family, it was like I had walked into an Aladdin’s cave! What treasures! I certainly had my eyes opened! I had never even heard of Textiles Conservation! I was like a young child in a sweet shop, overwhelmed by such delights and eager to taste all. What a treasure trove of artefacts, books, textiles and knowledge did Karen have! Every visit I made (and there were many), I learnt something, and I was being transported back in time in history, where I could touch and see the textiles of old, and because of Karen’s stories, it all came alive for me!

    She was so interesting, I always felt a richer person when I left Karen, than when I arrived. Karen was very formidable, intelligent, kind and had a good sense of humour. I often joked with her that I wouldn’t liked to have been one of her student’s, as she had no qualms about speaking her mind.

    To Karen, her family and pets was everything, she lived for them. She was so delighted to be able to pass her knowledge on that I feel really grateful for the time that she allowed me to be part of her life. Sadly, my visits had to come to an end, as they were getting too much for her. I shall never forget my time with the ‘iron lady’.

    Maria Claydon

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