Happy 90th Birthday to Doug
A war veteran who has volunteered at Rainbows for 20 years is celebrating his 90th birthday.
And Doug Knight believes the secret to reaching the momentous milestone is being positive. “If you make someone else happy, then you are happy,” said Doug.
“This is one of the reasons I wanted to volunteer at Rainbows. I drove past the hospice one day and I knew that I wanted to help.”
That was 12 years ago and Doug has been volunteering with us several times a week, tending to the gardens, ever since.
When Doug first arrived at Rainbows, we had not long opened and it was just a small building surrounded by three fields. Over the years, Doug has helped to design the outdoor space, hosting a variety of tranquil and beautiful spaces which are enjoyed by the children, young people and their families.
Doug said: “I have always loved gardening so Rainbows is perfect for me. I have literally seen the gardens blossom. I will keep going at Rainbows until I can’t do it anymore. The children and young people make it worthwhile. It is very rewarding knowing that I have helped to create a bright and lovely area for them to play in and enjoy. There are also nice quiet parts for when their families just want to go and sit somewhere in private.”
Doug was born in Thurmaston in 1924 and grew up in Sileby. In 1942 he joined the army and spent six years serving in the Special Forces where he was posted all over Europe serving in World War Two.
In 1942, Doug was given leave and returned home to marry his childhood sweetheart, Ruby, who sadly passed away in 1988. “We were together from the age of 16,” said Doug. “I had to get permission for leave to come home and get married. It was really hard when I had to return to the War as you said goodbye and you didn’t know if you were ever going to see each other again.”
When he was 23, Doug returned home and took on a job as a driving instructor, a career he held for 57 years. “I really enjoying being a driving instructor. I met a lot of different people,” he added.
“That is what I love about Rainbows, I get to meet a lot of people. I have seen people come and go over the years and I have made a lot of friends. There are some really nice characters and I enjoy talking to the children and young people, who are all amazing.
“I wouldn’t change anything in my life. I have lived my life to the full and have lots of memories from over the years.”
Doug celebrated his milestone birthday with his family – son Michael, daughter, Marion, and two grandchildren James and Michael. He was also treated to a surprise cake from everyone at the hospice.