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Urania Ray Brett, centenarian who had helped blind learn how to cook

'She was very thoughtful indeed and had strong opinions but was gentle'

29 September, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

Urania Ray Brett and her family

A CENTENARIAN from Primrose Hill helped teach blind people to cook during a life described as “wonderful” and “thoughtful”.

Urania Ray Brett, who has died aged 100, was a great talker and storyteller – and her son Nick Brett recalled it was where he got his desire to be a journalist from.

He grew up hearing Urania’s childhood tales of the valleys in South Wales. Urania, who lived in Regent’s Park Road, had taught domestic science in a girls’ con­vent school in Abingdon and developed a course to help teach blind and partially sighted people to cook.

Nick said the family have been flooded with cards from people sending well wishes since Urania’s death – one who still uses her Victoria sponge cake recipe she taught 55 years ago.

Urania met her husband Reggie Brett at a tea dance in 1943. He was in the navy and Urania was part of the Women’s Air Force.

She grew up as Roman Catholic but converted to Church of England when she married.

After Reggie died in 1995 Urania converted back to Roman Catholicism but continued visiting and volunteering for St Mark’s Church in Primrose Hill.

“There was no issue for us about that,” said William Gulliford, reverend at St Mark’s Church, “She was just a wonderful person. She was interesting, delight­ful and very bright. She was very thoughtful indeed and had strong opinions but was gentle.”

Urania moved to Compton Lodge care home near the end of her life. She liked music and reading.

She and Reggie had lived in Dordogne for 15 years where they did up an old farm house together – Urania could plaster and bricklay whilst Reggie was a good carpenter.

But the arrival of grandchildren brought Urania back to London. She was independent and after Reggie died she taught herself technical skills, using new technology to stay in touch with her family.

She died on September 5, seven weeks after her 100th birthday. A memorial was held for her at St Mark’s.


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