Kilby WI - Chopsticks and Rickshaws
As a Chartered Librarian working at
Loughborough High School and with only 18
months left until retirement Penny Hodgson
made a very brave decision. With the consent
of her husband she successfully applied for
a job at Harrow School in Beijing China as a
librarian. The summer of 2006 they arrived
in Beijing where they stayed for two years
experiencing a very different lifestyle.
Pollution hovered over the city, created by
fumes from cars and steel plants which
bellowed out smoke 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week. During her time the authorities tried
to drastically reduce the pollution before
the 2008 Olympic Games.
The pupils at Harrow School dressed in
school uniform including wearing the
traditional boaters, similar to Harrow
School here. They arrived at the school in
limousines, a stark contrast to the beggars
sitting by the walls of the school. At the
school, Penny was in charge of the library
and buying books was a pleasure as money was
no object. In fact the Headteacher informed
her she wasn’t spending enough! The academic
day started at 8am and finished about 3pm
with the pupils taking extra lessons and
joining clubs as parents encouraged their
children to study and work hard.
Whilst living in Beijing Penny and her
husband took the opportunity during holiday
times to visit places of interest, including
The Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City
and Xian to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. We
all found it to be an informative and
Illston on the Hill WI
Duncan Sims of Lawbrook Grace LLP came to
talk on the subject of ‘Are you Protected?’.
This relates to wills, powers of attorney,
probate, trusts and protecting our family’s
It was an absolutely fascinating talk.
Generally one imagines that the power of
attorney would be applicable to the elderly
before they go senile - but what if a young
person has an accident and is unable to make
their own decisions? What happens if your
children die and leave grandchildren?
Guardianship must be protected as just
saying, ‘I want the children to live with
Auntie Polly if anything happens to us'
won’t be enough.
One in three people go into care and 27%
live for three years or longer. With PoA a
choice can be made, without it, the person
will go wherever there is space and not
necessarily with their spouse. How traumatic
could that be?
Joint bank accounts will be frozen, so
financial difficulties can occur. In the
case of family limited companies who have
suffered the bereavement of a fellow
director, the company cannot trade as the
surviving director has no power of attorney.
This subject is an absolute minefield and it
is very scary how much we don’t know about
what will happen to our loved ones and
finances upon our death. In actual fact the
meeting was quite jolly as well as being
incredibly informative. Duncan really has a
great way of explaining all the pitfalls and
how to avoid them. It was not all doom and
gloom as you might imagine, but certainly
this is something to be considered - sooner
rather than later.