Friday, June 3, 2022

Victoria Sponge Cake with Antique British Flag Celebrating Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee 2022 and The Great Escape Connection to Bethell Hospice

As the excitement for the Queen's 70th event was building,  I received a message from my local beach friend Lynn W. who graciously offered me a chance to photograph her special antique British flag.  I had planned a royal-ish still life setup for my Jubilee cake;  a Victoria Sponge (Thank you Great British Baking Show judge Paul Hollywood's recipe!), but adding this extraordinary flag was 'icing on the cake'.

The story here is truly about the borrowed flag (not about the cake - though it's scrumptious) and it's incredible provenance.  The origin story goes like this:

Lynn was gifted the flag from Lorna Bethell, a member of the Molson family and 2012 recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Lorna Bethell,  Granddaughter of Herbert Molson, Co-Founder of Molson Breweries in Canada, was married to Tony, a soldier who was captured in WWII.  His life is partly the inspiration for the film The Great Escape. 

(Colonel Herbert Molson CMG MC (May 29, 1875 – March 21, 1938) was a Canadian politician, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He was a member of the Molson family.)

Lorna Bethell was inspired to take action at a time in her life when many people are looking to put their feet up and call it a day. 


At 75 years of age, she took on the biggest project of her life and mobilized a whole community to step up to the plate. Bethell Hospice blossomed from the seed of this woman’s determination. Together with her daughter, Elizabeth Birnie they were able to bring awareness to the deeply misunderstood concepts of hospice, end of life and palliative care.

Encouraged by her husband Tony Bethell, a World War II POW who survived Hitler’s executions after The Great Escape  at Stalag Luft IIINo one should have to die a lonely death.

Tony (Richard Anthony) Bethell (9 April 1922 – 17 February 2004) was born in Dar-es-Salaam in the British territory of Tanganyika. He joined the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. After his Mustang was shot down he was taken prisoner and held in the German prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III at Sagan where he actively participated in the Great Escape, being one of the 76 officers to break out and make some distance across enemy occupied territory before being recaptured. 

His name was not one of the 50 who were picked to be executed and he, with 25 others, went back into captivity. He retired from the RAF in 1955 and worked in financial services in Canada. He died in Canada in 2004.

So was this flag given to Lynn by Lorna Bethell in the hands of  The Great Escaper, Tony Bethell?  I have no doubt. And if not, it was in the hands of a 2012 recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Now. For the Victoria Sponge!

Get the recipe here.

My review: 1. Easy to bake. 2. Easier to eat. 3. Tea is essential.

Many thanks and appreciation to my good friend Lynn W. for lending me this gorgeous, meaningful flag. 



Bethell Hospice History

Bethell Hospice Film Trailer 

COPYRIGHT 2007-2022 Patti Friday b.1959.

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