Hava Camilla! Dancing duchess celebrates Jewish Care centre’s 80th birthday
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Hava Camilla! Dancing duchess celebrates Jewish Care centre’s 80th birthday

Duchess of Cornwall links arms with Lord Levy and members of Jewish Care’s Stepney Green Centre as she helps mark its anniversary

The Duchess of Cornwall showed off her dance moves on Wednesday as she helped mark the 80th anniversary of Jewish Care’s Brenner Centre in Stepney Green.

Camilla linked arms with other guests and centre members in a circle dance to the ‘Hava Nagila’, performed live by the musician Beverley Stone.

The small community centre in East London has received several royal visits since its opening including three visits from Queen Elizabeth in 1956, 1974 and 1987.

The only remaining Jewish service left in the area, it is open Monday to Friday and is a place for centre members to reminisce, enjoy hot Kosher food and attend weekly Sabbath meals.

The Duchess joined dozens of volunteers, centre members and staff on January 23 for tea and was presented with a bouquet of flowers before unveiling a commemorative plaque.

Duchess of Cornwall at Jewish Care’s Brenner Centre in Stepney Green, with Lord Levy, and the commemorative plaque. (Sam Churchill photography)

She said: “We sometimes go to places which are a bit sad but this place is one of the most uplifting community centres I’ve ever been to.

“Meeting all you wonderful, inspirational people has been a real treat and how most of you look so young, I don’t know.

“I just really wanted to say ‘thank you very much indeed’ and congratulate everybody who helps, who runs and who keeps this centre going.

She added: “It’s just so important in this day and age to have places like this.”

The Duchess met with members, including Beattie Orwell, 101, the former Mayoress of Tower Hamlets and the oldest centre member.

Duchess of Cornwall at Jewish Care’s Brenner Centre in Stepney Green speaking to Beattie Orwell as she helped mark its 80th birthday (Sam Churchill photography)

She also spoke with Marion Davies, a lifelong Eastender and a resident of Tower Hamlets, who was evacuated during the war for just one day.

Mrs Davies, whose dad was a bespoke tailor on Savile Row and whose mum came from a family of butchers, said she was evacuated to Weston Turville at the age of seven.

Duchess of Cornwall links arms with Jewish Care president Lord Levy (left) and a Brenner Centre user during a rendition of Hava Nagilah. (Credit: Sam Churchill Photography)

She told Jewish News she returned to London after just one day in Buckinghamshire, saying “if my mum and dad were going to die in the Blitz, I wanted to die too.”

The 87 year-old widow, who described herself as “what you might call a Jewish Cockney”, said she had been “overcome with emotion” to meet Camilla.

“In my mind, I kept saying to myself ‘don’t cry’ because the black eye makeup is going to run”, she said.

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