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20 April 2021

Shirley Williams's mother Vera Brittain seen here in her VAD uniform. Testament of Youth made a huge impact in the 1930s and is still one of the great books (obviously it would be a Persephone book if Virago didn't look after it so admirably). How daunting it must have been growing up as the daughter of the person who wrote Testament of Youth – but Shirley Williams managed to forge her own path, not out of ambition but because of  her kind and compassionate nature. Her heart was in the right place. And today she would have very much approved of David Hare's poem, and laughed at it, and been furious – but always polite. It was her values that were so exemplary.

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