Gwen was born on 24th November 1918. She was 12 when she was selected to attend the newly opened Godalming Grammar School in 1930. She lived at the Shottermill end of Haslemere and she said she had to get up very early to walk to the station, catch the train to Godalming and walk up Holloway Hill. The boys and girls sat together in class, but were in separate areas at break times. She enjoyed playing both netball and hockey while at school and she remembers that the boys played football.
When she visited Godalming College in July 2019, she told staff and students that she had particularly enjoyed being able to grow produce on the school allotments, which engendered her lifelong love of gardening. She lived in a flat so she had never even touched soil before but after that, she became a gardener – all because Godalming gave her a bit of earth to play with. She knew that it was a good school and had fond memories of her time there.
After leaving school at 16, Gwen worked for HM Customs and Excise, both in Derbyshire and later in London.