This Strong Manchester Woman was just eleven years old when World War II started. She saw first-hand the camaraderie and sense of community that the conflict sparked. It is no surprise then, that throughout her life she’s helped people – whether that’s been as a nurse, or leading local projects from Girl Guides, to award-winning neighbourhood gardens. Now at the age of 91 and a pillar of her local Manchester community, she continues to support and give strength to others.
In this episode, your host Vic Elizabeth Turnbull speaks to Dena Murphy, a former nurse and the Chair of resident’s group NEPHRA Good Neighbours, which improve the lives of people in their neighbourhood in North Manchester. Their community-run allotment, that’s managed by Dena, feeds over 50 pensioners at luncheon clubs each week, and provides training and qualifications for volunteers.
Dena is a passionate gardener and has won more than 40 awards from the Royal Horticultural Society. The huge contribution she’s made to life in her community was acknowledged in 2017 when she was nominated for the Pride of Britain Awards and in 2019 when she won the ‘Community Partner of the Year’ at the Pride of Manchester Awards.
In this episode Dena talks about,
- How she’s set up multiple community garden projects
- …and why lots of them stop blooming
- Learning to swear in Czech
- The secret to living to the age of 91 (includes vegetables & cigarettes)
- How to get your local council on side
- What it’s really to working with offenders
- Why we’re losing a sense of community
- Talking leeks with Prince Charles
- How she caught the gardening bug at aged just 3
Links and information
- Find out more about Nephra, the organisation that Dena chairs and runs the allotment for – there’s info on here about how you can volunteer and donate too NephraGoodNeighbours.org.uk
- Edith Cavell Close (not street!) in Manchester is here if you fancy a pilgrimage, and Dena is right, it’s tiny!
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The podcast is inspired by the annual Strong Women campaign. The 14 women profiled in this series were selected for the 2019 campaign. For more information about the women visit The Pankhurst Trust’s website
Listen to other Strong Manchester Women podcast episodes here