A Twin Lakes woman who passed away in 2018 was ahead of her time when she served in Europe during the Second World War.
Betty Lillian Purdy (nee Winstanley), a veteran of the Canadian Air Force, was stationed in London just after the Blitz, a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom.
Her two friends and neighbours, author Elizabeth Morantz and artist Carolyn Jager, have captured Purdy’s life in a new book, Get in Line, Winstanley! published this summer.
The two felt she had lived such a long and remarkable life they were inspired to tell her tale in a children’s book.
Purdy went off to war without her parents’ permission because she felt women should be allowed to do what the men were doing. She was stationed in London carrying out administrative work, the book documents.
“It is an important book for girls because it is about empowerment and marching to your own drum and sometimes having to break some rules to express your uniqueness,” Morantz said. “She stayed current and youthful right until she died.
“It was also an interesting story about wartime England and informative about the Second World War in general.”
The title was inspired by Purdy’s time training in Ottawa for the air force when the drill sergeant used to yell at her to get in line.
“She was tall and had long lanky legs and never seemed to be in the right steps so the drill sergeant would yell at her,” said Jager, who did most of the illustrations for the book.
“It tied in with the book about her life that she never really got in line. She went out and did her own thing.”
Purdy and her husband moved to the Okanagan when she was in her sixties. She was an active community member and life of all the parties and happy hours she organized.
She worked as a trustee with the Lower Nipit Improvement District and a treasurer on the stewardship society in the region.
On her 90th birthday, Purdy invited all her friends to go zip lining in Peachland, an adventure that was on her bucket list.
“Betty had her arms out going down the zipline like it was nothing,” Jager said. “She was the spark plug of the neighbourhood. She kept everything together. We miss her terribly.”
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