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Blindness no obstacle for veteran baker Penny

By Pam Marsden
AT STOKES BAY WI this month it was wonderful to meet and hear from outstanding cook and author Penny Melville-Brown.
Penny has local connections having served in the Royal Navy, also working in NATO intelligence, and been involved in home defence during the Cold War.
Before she went blind, Penny became the first woman barrister in the Royal Navy.
All of that is motivating enough but, having lost her sight, Penny decided that blindness shouldn’t stop her ambitions unless she chose to do so – and she chose life and death adventures!
Our members were fascinated that Penny, whose book ‘A cook’s tour: baking blind goes global’ summed up her lust for life – winning prizes, travelling and
cooking on six continents and, in her own words, she simply rolled with the blows and came up smiling.
Penny needed to work and started doing her ‘baking blind’ project even making 100 videos of her travels cooking around the world.
We heard great tales of Penny’s culinary skills leading to those around her forgetting she was blind. She cooked from San Francisco, in a sour dough bakery, to Costa Rica where she found that the fine dining restaurant was in the jungle in rainy season!
Angela MacCallum, President of Stokes Bay WI, said: “I could see that our members were enjoying hearing of Penny’s working travels – from Australia to Malawi and all points in between.
“We were inspired to hear that Penny’s work in China helped to change their attitudes to blindness. Penny is not one to sit down and do nothing that is for sure!”
After being a passenger in a serious car crash, part of Penny’s therapy was to write a book with recipes – is there no end to her talents?
We really enjoyed meeting Penny and hearing her talk and will follow her travels and adventures with great interest.
FOOTNOTE: Stokes Bay WI holds friendly meetings on the third Tuesday of the month in St Mary’s Parish Centre, Green Road, Alverstoke, PO12 2ET from 10am -12 noon. Our motto is
Inspiring Friendship and Fun and, alongside the fundraising and WI commitments, we enjoy much companionship and laughter in our meetings, outings and interest groups. Find us on Facebook and our website:
PICTURED:  The photograph shows Penny Melville-Brown during her presentation to Stokes Bay WI. More details can be found on her website