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89 years of memories

Celebrations for Ivy Thacker’s 89th birthday were in full swing at Vestry House Museum on Saturday 19 September with an attendance of over 300 guests including family members, Council dignitaries and community members.

Ivy, who is living with dementia and resides in supported housing in Waltham Forest, lived and worked in Walthamstow during the Second World War. As part of a multimedia project run by the Council for older and vulnerable adults, she has been given support using computers and tablet devices – and connected with a new generation on Twitter with her @diaryivy account.

Since January, the @diaryivy feed has accumulated over 400 followers, broadcasting regular tweets summing up Ivy’s daily diary entries from 1944 – giving people a glimpse into the life of an 18-year-old girl growing up in London’s East End while the war in Europe raged on.

Guests to Ivy’s birthday were transported back into the 1940s, complete with a birthday cake and retro television donated by Hillmans Tea Rooms, milk delivered in glass bottles from Parkers Dairy and entertainment including a performance by Auntie Maureen, a popular local gramophone performance artist.

Party goers danced to tunes supplied by the wind-up gramophone, learning popular dances from the period such as the Charlston and the Hokey Cokey.

Vintage costumes provided by Gigi’s Dressing Room were modelled and there was an interactive performance by local theatre company Slap Haddock.

Throughout the day a rolling slideshow depicting images taken from Ivy’s diary, film posters and pictures of Waltham Forest during the Second World War were on display.

Waltham Forest Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Cllr Angie Bean, said: “This particular project has been a great success and is a wonderful example of how utilising new forms of communication can connect the generations.”

“Ivy has told us she had a wonderful birthday and knows that many people are enjoying her diary.” 

To catch up with the story being told through her diary follow @diaryivy on Twitter or visit

For more information about services in Waltham Forest for adults and older people visit

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