I spy a special birthday!
PUBLISHED: 15:37 11 March 2009 | UPDATED: 09:40 12 August 2010
A LADY who wanted to be a spy during World War II celebrated her 90th birthday among friends and family. Olive Rippengal, of Croydon Road, Beckenham, was joined by loved ones at her birthday celebrations at Christ Church Hall in Fairfield Road, Beckenha
A LADY who wanted to be a spy during World War II celebrated her 90th birthday among friends and family.
Olive Rippengal, of Croydon Road, Beckenham, was joined by loved ones at her birthday celebrations at Christ Church Hall in Fairfield Road, Beckenham last Saturday. Her nephew Duncan travelled from Vancouver to help his aunt celebrate the special occasion.
Former Beckenham Grammar pupil Ms Rippengal, who speaks eight languages, said: "We all had a wonderful time. My nephew was the MC for the ceremony. There were nearly 100 people at the hall. I have a room full of flowers from all my relatives which is lovely."
At the beginning of WWII, Ms Rippengal walked into the War Office and offered to be a spy. She said: "Unfortunately they didn't think I was the type so they offered me another job instead. I worked as a typist, then was promoted to military intelligence in Germany, and then became a PA to the Director of the Home Guard."
After the war, she studied theology at Kings College London. She then went on to become a religious studies teacher, and worked as head of department at South West Essex Technology College.
From 1954 to 1958 Ms Rippengal spent nearly four years travelling the world visiting Japan, India, Iran, Iraq, Greece and Italy.
After retiring from teaching, because of her eyesight, she developed property in the Beckenham area.
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