Sunday, 19 January 2014

Most of you will know I love TV having enjoyed during 2013 Broadchurch Downton Abbey, Hostages, Silent Witness etc so I'm
looking forward to the return of Mr Selfridge this evening. Most of the shows Ive mentioned are, of course, are fictitious accept for Mr Selfridge and Selfridges and my late mother Dr Hazel Boland (see photo) have a significant connection.

Let me explain. It was 1961 a young Canadian called Galen Weston came to Dublin to set up a grocery store with his own money. A second location followed and the outlets evolved into the “Powers” chain of supermarkets. Whilst living in Dublin he met and fell in love with a beautiful Irish model Hillary Frayne (see photo). In 1966 they married in London and as my father, Dr Stanley Boland, was her family doctor and her father was dead she asked my father to give her away. It was whilst in London for the wedding that my father discovered that the Weston’s were no ordinary family, in fact they are one of Canada’s wealthiest families and owners of one of Great Britain’s most successful companies Associated Foods operating in 47 countries. Among 100’s of household brands, they own Twinings Tea, Sunblest and Kingsmill Bread, Ryvita and Ovaltine, Silverspoon Sugar, Mazola cooking oil, and Jordans breakfast cereals to name but a few. They also own Fortnum and Masons, London’s most fashionable store. In fact the Weston family, with an estimated net worth of $US 7.6 billion, are listed as the wealthiest in Canada and 133rd in the world by Forbes magazine. In 2003 they bought Selfrideges , the press reports quoted a purchase price £598 million.
Galen and Hilary’s daughter Alannah Weston is now deputy chairman of Selfridges and this is where my mother’s link with the Weston’s lie. My mother was Hilary Weston’s gynaecologist when the family lived in Dublin and played a very important role in the birth of Alannah. The Daily Telegraph ran a headline 'Alannah Weston: daddy's girl who makes Selfridges sparkle' . Under Alannah’s leadership The Selfridges Group now consists of Brown Thomas in Ireland, De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands and Holt Renfrew in Canada, as well as of course Selfridges in the UK.
I know it’s not much of a claim but whilst watching Mr Selfridge I always think of my late mum who I miss terribly.

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