Stalwart of the WRVS and a Local Hero

In 1937 Hope Sanger and her husband moved to Send. At the outbreak of World War II Hope was determined to ‘do her bit’ even though she had three children and various relatives to care for.

Hope joined the Women’s Voluntary Service, later called the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service and its members ran canteens for the services and war workers. They acted as drivers to and from hospitals and organised food, clothing and shelter for evacuees and those made homeless by the bombing, amongst other duties.

Hope became the Deputy Organiser for Guildford Rural District which included Send, and marshal of the rest centre set up in the Drill Hall (now called the Lancaster Hall) in 1942, which was used as a shelter and a depot for emergency food supplies. She was also Billeting Officer and as such, was responsible for rehousing the survivors of the bombing at Burnt Common. When an unexploded ‘doodle-bug’ was detonated by the army in Send Hill it destroyed the roofs of 22 houses, Hope supplied food free from glass and apparently gave the army ‘a piece of her mind!’

Hope Sanger (Courtesy of Send and Ripley Museum)

She helped distribute Woolton Pies, a form of vegetable Cornish pasty, made to supplement rations. Hope recalled the pride that was felt by the WVS in helping to meet returning prisoners of war at Euston Station. She managed all this even though her youngest child was only 5. Her husband joined the Home Guard and became editor of Movietone News. You can see Mrs Sanger outside Willingham Cottage on New Year’s Eve in a short video, available via their website.

After the war Hope carried on giving service as Chairman of the Parish Council (for 20 years), Guildford Rural District Council and Guildford Borough Council. She was made an Alderman in 1982.

Hope was a school governor, a magistrate on the Woking Bench from 1949 until 1970 and after 1974 was the village representative for Meals on Wheels in Send, only giving up this post aged 93. She was Chairman of Send Social Council and the Lancaster Hall committee, chaired the Guildford & District Committee of Voluntary Service Overseas and was on Surrey County Council’s Civil Defence Committee.

In the 1980’s Hope received the British Red Cross’s award for outstanding service.

It is clear from this short account that Hope Sanger was a Local Hero and without her, and people like her up and down the country, the war would have had an even greater impact particularly on the civilian population. The WRVS recorded that ‘Hope Sanger never lost her great interest in the WRVS and the Service will always remember her with gratitude and affection’.

She died on October 4th 1994 and was honoured when Sanger Drive in Send was named after her.

Hope is just one of the talented Surrey Women featured in Surrey Museums Month 2017. To find out more about the event and other celebrated Surrey Women click here.

Text kindly produced by Send and Ripley Museum.