Mary-Prue Agius was the first child of Alfred Agius and Ena Hueffer, born 21st August 1936. She was educated by the Holy Child nuns at the convent school in St Leonards-on-Sea Sussex where her Agius aunts and cousins Marie and Suzanne Agius had also been. After school she spent a year in Malta as PA to Mabel Strickland , arriving 23rd April 1954 , aged 17.
Mabel was Proprietor and Editor of the Times of Malta , and Mary was given the job of columnist on the ‘Heard in the Hive by The Bee’ social column. This gave her the introduction to a wide range of social circles, mainly Naval and RMA (Royal Malta Artillery) , as well as getting to know many Agius cousins and their friends of the same age. Mary kept a scrapbook of this year in Malta, where she celebrated her 18th and 19th birthdays before returning to England in September 1955. During her time in Malta both uncle Dom Ambrose Agius and cousin Dom Denis Agius visited and there is a record of this in the scrapbook. Mary lived with Mabel Strickland at Villa Parisio .
The fragile scrapbook is now held by one of Mary’s daughters and it is with thanks to Cara, Lucia and Emilia that we have been able to digitise the 96 pages and post it here so that we can share its many gems and insights into the life of the Agius cousins in Malta in the 1950s. It mainly concerns the 16 months in Malta but continues into 1956 to cover life back in London.
By 1960 Mary was working in New York , where she again met up with Dom Ambrose who had been there as an assistant parish priest and raising funds for Ealing Abbey for some years. Here she fell in love with Laurie Laurie (born Laurence Contardo Bergamischini but changed his name officially to Laurie) 36 years older. They returned to England and married in Bishops Stortford 13 June 1964 , when Laurie was 64 and Mary 28. Mary died in London on 30 November 2009 , 2 months after she had made one last trip to Malta to revisit the scenes and friends of over 50 years earlier.
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Pages 1 to 19 of the scrapbook….
Back – Page 4 – Page 2