Making poetry from the past


18 August 2021

image: Christine holding her poetry bookAn Optivo resident has written, illustrated and printed her first book of poetry, at the age of 83.

Christine Prytherch, from Fitznell Court, Surrey, revealed the project came about because she embraced modern technology.

She said: “I bought an iPad and an Apple Pencil and discovered I could draw. If I make a mistake I press the back button and erase the whole thing.”

During lockdown in 2020, Christine, who suffers with Parkinson’s, discovered she had another talent. 

Poems were flooding into my brain,” she revealed.  The great-grandmother spent up to 11 hours a day writing and painting.

Christine has lived with her husband Roy in an Optivo over 55s scheme near Cheam Park for five years. The scheme is managed by Amanda Whitlock, who supported Christine and Roy through the pandemic with regular phone calls. Christine said,

I love my flat! It’s very quiet.

The former teacher published her book, Poetry Prose Scripture, under her birth name Martha Orth.  Some of her poems are intensely personal, revealing the shocking truth about her beginnings and adoption. 

I was born before World War II, to a Jewish mother who was raped by a Nazi soldier. When I was 50, I decided to start my search. My husband and I went to Freiburg in Germany.

“We met the midwife who delivered me. She had photographs of me, newborn, in her arms. She’d kept them safe. 

“Freiburg had been seriously bombed three times by the Allies – thousands of people were killed, buildings destroyed. But my pictures, miraculously, had survived the bombing and waited for me to go and collect them!

Christine is proud of her achievement and said, “I’m going to be 84 in September, and I’ve got a book printed for the first time! It’s a great success to me and I’m really happy about it.”

Amanda Whitlock, Scheme Manager at Bethell Court, said “Christine is an amazing lady and an inspiration to us all. It’s a pleasure to call and talk to her whenever possible, she is a very friendly and a happy leaseholder. Having a lady like this on my scheme makes my job even more worthwhile.

If you'd like to purchase a copy of Christine's book please click here to make a request.

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