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Richard Branson's mother has a unique door knocker

Josephine

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Like son, like mother


It’s easy to see where Sir Richard Branson gets his energy from – his fabulously feisty mother, Eve. Here she brushes aside a broken hip, only slightly regrets throwing Richard out of her car aged five and plans to be in the mothership when Virgin Galactic launches.

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Eve Branson with her son, Richard

Q: Eve, you’re recovering from not one but two operations to repair a broken hip. How did that happen?
A: I took a tumble in the middle of the night. It was such bad luck. I was on holiday last August with my family at my son Richard’s home on Necker in the British Virgin Islands. I got up at around 5am and, crossing an outdoor walkway in the dark, I took a purler and tumbled a short distance down a cliff. I broke my left hip in two places, although I didn’t know what the damage was at the time. I just knew it was very painful.
I managed to get upright, but couldn’t move, so I hung on to a fence post for about an hour until a member of staff heard my shrieks. I must have passed out because when I woke up the family was at my bedside.

Q: And you were on a small private island...
A: A surgeon on a neighbouring island operated and did his best, but after two weeks of hobbling like a pregnant penguin, the wound was producing substances I’d rather not mention. I’d caught a bug – the worst kind – and the pain was getting worse, not better. The annual storms were gathering and they wanted to get me home and into more experienced hands. They took me straight to the hospital from the airport, and once they’d got rid of the virus, the surgeon took out the hip that had been replaced, and put in a new one. The first one was so old-fashioned. It looks like a door-knocker, so I’m going to use it as one!

I was very lucky. The physiotherapist gets you moving a day or so after the operation. As the days go by, you get more adventurous. Soon you’re on only one stick, and they teach you to walk down stairs, accompanied by a symphony of grumps and groans.
I went home after two weeks. At first it was very uncomfortable, but I worked at my physiotherapy every day – I recommend swimming – and I’m pretty much back to normal. I walk unaided and can drive again.

Q: For a very active person, it can’t have been easy being out of action...
A: I’ve been put back with this hip, but I’m not going to regret it. It happened, and things go wrong for everyone. I suppose if you throw yourself around, it’s the price you pay for leading an active life. You’ve got to keep happy, then you can give happiness. You can’t if you’re not happy yourself. But it was tedious! I’ve never done nothing. You’ve got to be constructive with your time.

Q: Have you always been healthy in the past?
A: Health is, in some respects, a matter of luck, and one of the blessings in my life is that I can still see and hear all right.


.... from Saga magazine March 2013
 

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