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Land Army girls honoured at last

PUBLISHED: 10:44 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:58 23 August 2010

proud: Joyce Crotty with her award

proud: Joyce Crotty with her award

AN 83-YEAR-OLD woman was among 50 honoured at a Downing Street service to recognise the role of Women s Land Army during the second world war. Joyce Crotty, of Lorton Close, Gravesend, was selected from more than 30,000 surviving Land Girls and Lumber Ji

AN 83-YEAR-OLD woman was among 50 honoured at a Downing Street service to recognise the role of Women's Land Army during the second world war.

Joyce Crotty, of Lorton Close, Gravesend, was selected from more than 30,000 surviving Land Girls and Lumber Jills to attend the ceremony hosted by the Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The event, held last Wednesday, paid tribute to those who served in the Women's Land Army and Women's Timber Corps

As one of two ladies from Kent chosen to attend the event, she said: "It was marvellous. I couldn't believe it. It was very emotional. We met the Prime Minister and spent the afternoon at 10 Downing Street.

"He went round and shook hands with everyone and they showed us round. We were really made a fuss of."

The women were given a tour of Downing Street and then presented with badges and certificates by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn.

Mrs Crotty joined the Women's Land Army aged 17 and served for four years. She was based in a hostel in Otford, Sevenoaks, and was sent out each day to work on in the fields and dairy farms.

She added: "We did all sorts of things they just took us where they needed us every day. The farmer had gone to war so we went there to do the work. It was hard work but I enjoyed it."

The Women's Land Army was set up to help alleviate food shortages after male workers went to fight in the war. They worked on farms milking cows, sowing seeds and harvesting crops.

Following Wednesday's events badges and certificates were sent to the women who served all across the UK.

Unity Searles, 80, of Main Road, Hextable, received an award but did not attend the Downing Street ceremony.

She joined the Land Girls when she was 18 and served for three years at a base near Maidstone.

She said: "I was quite excited really when I received it. We did many things from picking potatoes to getting in the corn. We worked very hard we had to get up very early in the morning and it was quite late in the evening before we finished and sometimes we had to go back in the evenings.

"Although it was hard work there were lots of laughs.

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