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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 enjoyable evening.

 

 

 

 

Monica Griffiths

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 future.

 

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.  

 

 Jane Shute

 

Issue 395
October
2017


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