Miriam, who is 95, was a volunteer for Jewish Care for 24 years is now a member of Jewish Care’s Brenner Centre at Stepney Jewish Community Centre at Raine House. She says, “I love the Centre as it’s real East End and that’s what I am. We lived in Shoreditch when I was growing up and I was a teenager when the siren went on the first day of the war and I ran home, scared.
“I was one of four sisters and four brothers and I had the happiest but the poorest home. I have no idea how but my mother had a piano, my brother Tony was fantastic with music and later wrote the song Eurovision ‘Save All Your Kisses For Me’. My sister did impressions and I was shy but I used to sing and tap dance. We had such a happy home.
“I started working when I was not quite 14 on Charterhouse Square making forest caps for RAF and the Army. The bombing was terrible during the War but on VE Day I remember me and my friends went up to Trafalgar Square and there were soldiers there from every country.
“That was the best day of our lives, the war was over, people were singing and playing music all the war times, everybody was singing and clapping and kissing. My mother made a VE Day party, we lived on the ground floor of Cookham Buildings, everybody put tables out everywhere, people were singing ‘On Coronation Day, We’ll Meet Again’ and everyone sang the old Cockney songs and people were so happy. VE Day was the most magical day. I love Churchill, he won the war for us. I am a great Royalist too and I love Vera Lyn.
“Now I’m very lucky because I live on the eighth floor of my building and I have the best view of the reservoir. My sons phone me up all the time, and I have a lot of grandchildren and great grandchildren.”