'Places like this help children to think big'
For Ann-Marie, walking through the rooms at Claydon in Buckinghamshire is a way of remembering her parents. She would visit with them as a child, and would marvel at the bed where Florence Nightingale slept. Such was the impact of these experiences, Ann-Marie can trace her own career – as the founder of a women’s charity in Africa – back to seeing that bed and sharing those profound moments with her parents.
'Ah now this is something I remember. Oh my gosh! Yeah I remember this from when I first came here.
We lived in Buckinghamshire, we’d often go to Claydon. My mum was really into gardening and horticulture. My dad was much more into history and buildings. I like social history. I like the voices and the stories you hear.'
" Oh wow, right this brings back some memories. This is probably the thing I really remember of coming here as a little girl, seeing Florence’s bed and thinking "I can’t believe this is where she slept.""
'She was a pioneer of her time. She was ahead of her time. She was just somebody who seemed to have quite an extraordinary life.'
Keeping memories alive
'I was only in my twenties when both my parents had passed. It’s a way of thinking of my parents, as I come back to properties like this.
That’s what happens when people die in your life, you keep them alive by the memories you carry on.
I take my friends and their grandchildren. I tell them about my Dad which is how he carries on living even though he’s gone from this Earth. I thank him, literally every time I go, thinking this is from him.'
'I was an only child and there were no other influences. I’ve kind of carved the rest of my life out on my own. I’ve had the charity running for five years as a registered charity. I’ve worked in and out of East Africa and West Africa.
I don’t know what gave me the confidence to think I could do something.'
" I think that’s what properties like this can do for children like me - enable them to think big, think outside the box."
'But you don’t even know what you’re absorbing when you go round somewhere like this. There’s culture, there’s theatre, there’s art and I think it expanded my world. It made me think there are no boundaries, it’s like whatever I want to do I can have a punt at it really.'