Mrs June Martin MBE, D.Pharm. and lifetime President of the Ascot District Day Centre in Sunninghill, who has done a vast amount of work to support the Ascot area elderly, celebrated her 90th birthday with a party at the Ascot Day Centre Saturday Plus session on Saturday April 30th, 2016 - one of her favourite achievements.

June, who has a deep and compassionate understanding of a carer's responsibilities, set up Saturday Plus to offer respite care- an outing for the frail and a break for their carers, at the weekend.  The concept has been enormously popular and enduring.

Please click on the photos to enlarge them

June only retired as Chairman of the Ascot District Day Centre Trust, after 14 years in the post, at her 80th birthday, but took on the role of lifelong President.

She continues to play an active role in this particularly important initiative - Saturday Day Care Plus, at the Day Centre. Even now, although of more advanced in years than many of the regulars at the Day Centre, she is still to be found in the thick of the Annual Sunninghill Fancy Dress Wheelbarrow Race, on New Year's Day, come rain or shine (and there’s a lot of rain!).

She was part of the founding team, back in the 1970’s. She explains: “It was local GP, Dr Chandler’s dream when he retired. I was a pharmacist with some experience of day centres and he called a group of people together, held meetings over three years and started a lunch club, to demonstrate the need for one,” she says, “It was a huge success, with local people meeting each other for the first time since they were at school.”


“The meals came from Heatherwood in those days and we took the dishes home to wash. We had Portakabins, adding more as demand grew. Our first building was sold and airlifted to Coworth Park School. Then, a District Councillor, Charles Reilly, Chairman before me, wanted a brick building. The money was raised and the new building opened in the 1980’s” 

June  has been heavily involved in the Centre's development and fundraising since its inception. It now boasts a new conservatory, an extension with new bathroom and much more. Members can benefit from chiropody, hairdressing and a home- cooked lunch, prepared in the well-equipped kitchen. 

Asked why she has given so much to this voluntary work, she says: “Because of my background in caring, I appreciate the difficulties and the need for time on your own.”  She took Day Centre work a stage further in founding Day Care Plus: “I started Day Care Plus, on Saturdays, for the frail elderly who never go out,” she said, “It’s a great relief to carers, to know their relatives are out, enjoying themselves and a getting a good meal.”

Although she has made a large contribution herself, she says the Centre is very lucky to receive regular contributions from the Fuel Allotment Trust, Fire Brigade Trust, Rotary, Round Table and similar groups.

Also in the field of fundraising, June is a founder patron of the Day Centre Benefactors, who have raised funds for the Day Centre for eight years.

June helped establish the Ascot Volunteer Bureau (AVB) which assists local people -  usually the elderly, with transport to medical appointments and similar journeys. The Bureau provides a vital link for those who cannot travel by ambulance or public transport. Its  co-ordinators match volunteer drivers with people in need.   Eventually becoming Chairwoman, she only retired in 2009 after more than 20  years’ service.  

June, who is widowed with one surviving daughter, has also had her fair share of caring at home, having looked after her sick daughter, mother, mother –in-law and husband, Bernard, a scientist, who had Parkinsons disease for 20 years. Despite all this, she has had a career as a pharmacist, owning a string of pharmacy businesses (including Martin’s in Ascot High Street) and  working as a locum chemist until she retired 25years ago.

It was chemistry which brought her and her husband together, at university. Originally from Nottingham, the couple eventually moved   to Ascot (after spells in Dorking and New Malden), following Bernard’s job in Slough.  She  lived in the same house for 40 years in Sunning Avenue for 40 years.

All this work was rewarded with an MBE in December 1999 in the New Years Honours List, 2000 - 'for services to the community of Windsor and Maidenhead' - although June would have liked the citation to refer to Ascot.  Ever well - informed, at the presentation, the Queen said: “I understand it was for Ascot.”

June has just had another close encounter with The Queen – who is little over a week older- just last week, when she attended the hugely enjoyable Queen's Party for fellow nonagenarians in Windsor at the Guildhall. June 'made the cut' for this by one day - to be eligible, guests had to be born in the years leading up to May 1st 1926.

An active member of Tangent, she was also made a 'Paul Harris Fellow' by the Rotary Club of Ascot. This is a prestigious award and June was very honoured: “That was wonderful because it was a decision by local people,” she says.

There was much pleasure in celebrating a special birthday for someone who has given so much, with so much kindness. As one friend commented: "June is a very supportive person- to anyone who needed help in any way possible.  She stands for 'fairness' and believes people of any age, background or culture deserve to be treated with kindness and dignity.  An example of this is the number of years she has hosted, in her own home on Xmas Day, full Christmas lunch to a handful of people who would otherwise be alone and without a traditional meal on that special day. " 

It was a very special occasion at the Day Centre on Saturday. Many happy returns, June !

Pictured: June Martin Receiving a Cheque Donation for the Day Centre