Born on 18th February 1915 at Hinstock in Shropshire during the time of the 1st World War, she was the only child of Dorothy Boughey of Aqualate; and Gerald, son of 3rd Viscount Hill of Hawkstone. Celina was the only direct descendent of her generation and therefore destined to become the first direct owner of the Aqualate Estate after 100 years.
An accomplished horsewoman by the age of 10, she loved riding to hounds with the Albrighton and North Shropshire Hunts and cut a dash on the hunting field, as she was one of two ladies who rode sidesaddle. Occasionally she would stay with relatives and party in some of the great houses of Staffordshire and Shropshire.
Her father Gerald died when she was 15 years old. During the mid 1930’s and the agricultural depression, she helped her mother Dorothy run the 400 acre farm, milking on the stool into the bucket, hoeing the turnips and beet, gathering sheaves in the corn fields and carting hay with the workmen. To her aristocratic aunts and family this was undignified and very unladylike for one who was destined to eventually become owner of Aqualate , at that time a substantial landed estate, so she was banned from visiting them at the Hall.
Come September 1939 and the declaration of war everything changed. She felt a need to do her duty for King and country and became a WREN. Because she had learnt to drive a vehicle on the farm she soon became a transport driver billeted in digs behind what was then the Carnarvon Hotel by Ealing Common off the Uxbridge Road. Every day she would collect her army lorry from Chiswick depot and drive to the Admiralty for duty. Exactly 70 years ago she witnessed the terrible carnage of the London Blitz around St. Pauls and was herself nearly bombed in her lorry.
At this time news was coming through about the brutal invasion of Poland and the terrible plight of the Polish nation. Celina was delegated to collect some of the first Polish military personnel being shipped into England across the Channel. Part of her duties was to transport Ministerial personnel and the diplomatic bags around London from the Admiralty. At this time she also started visiting Westminster Cathedral gaining an insight into the Catholic faith.
Celina was transporting many destitute Polish soldiers and gradually learning of the terrible atrocities that befelled the Polish nation. Unable initially to converse with them, she decided to start learning this strange foreign language from a wind up gramophone record and from young Polish officers who found her a most attractive young WREN. One of the first Polish Officers she transported in her vehicle presented her with a tiny badge of the Polish eagle with a crown on it. The day before the unveiling of the Polish Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in September 2009, which she attended, she insisted it must be sewn onto her hat! She kept everyone inspired to ensure a major Polish War Memorial was unveiled to commemorate the Polish allies during the second World War.
At the start of the war there was no real army pay for many of the WRENS and most were trying to survive on meagre army rations. Celina spent a lot of time in the East End and the London docks waiting for boats to arrive with Polish evacuees fleeing from persecution. Celina was popular amongst the Cockneys at their soup kitchens where she was welcomed with a hot soup and bun.
At the same time she was under family pressure over the future direction of her inheritance, the stress of which caused her to crash into a steam roller in Piccadilly Circus. Unfortunately she had an important English military diplomat on board. This resulted in her instant dismissal from the transport corps. So distressed was she with the attitude of her English relatives towards her and the lack of sympathy from the military authorities that in a fit of rage she stumped into the office of the then Polish Prime Minister Mikolajczyk (based in the Rubens Hotel) and demanded a job as an interpreter. As Celina had learnt to type she was appointed his secretary and her knowledge of Polish became invaluable in contacts with the British authorities.
By this time several Polish officers were inviting her to the newly acquired Polish Hearth (Ognisko) Club at 55 Exhibition Road South Kensington. She soon became mesmerised by the wonderful rhythms of the Polish Polkas, Waltzes, Mazurkas and Polonaise. To make ends meet she applied for a job in the back kitchen of the club as waitress serving coffee/tea and cakes to military clientele.
In early January 1942, on Christmas leave from Scotland, a group of 6 army officers came to the club, one of them being Janusz. He became interested in this young woman in English WREN uniform who spoke Polish, much to the amusement of his friends. Shortly after, a romance started even though Janusz had to spend a lot of time in Scotland till the end of the war.
Many important Polish people were arriving at Ognisko and she became well known to Generals Haller, Anders and Bor-Komorowski (the latter staying for a short while in grandmother’s flat), also the later Presidents Sabbat and Kaczorowski. Some of the military work Celina was now involved in was top secret spying and smuggling. There were times when she was delegated to safe keep and smuggle gold which was used as barter with the Germans for the release of certain Polish high ranking personnel.
Towards the end of the war a young Polish Military Forces chaplain Fr. Stanislaw Belch was living in the Kensington area and Polish Masses were being said at the Brompton Oratory. Soon Celina became known to him and he guided her to her Catholic Faith at Westminster Cathedral.
On 16th April 1947 Celina and Janusz married at Westminster Cathedral. Two years later they came to live in Ealing at 119 Grange Road. All their children, apart from Marysia, were born at Grange Road and spent their childhood there. Celina strongly insisted that all her children should be able to speak fluently in father’s tongue and know about his culture and country.
Ealing, known as the Queen of the Suburbs, was starting to be settled by Polish people some of whom were relocating here when the Polish Squadron 303 at RAF Northolt was disbanded. It soon became a favourite place due to the many Catholic schools and Benedictine Catholic Community and the ease of communication into the Polish Corridor of Kensington and Knightsbridge where several Polish clubs were forming. Celina and Janusz soon became actively engaged with others in creating what has become the largest Polish Parish in Europe outside Poland.
Janusz became the first chairman of the Polish school and Celina was helping in school affairs and was doing social work as interpreter and helping Polish families to settle in their new country. It soon became clear that the young teenagers that were emerging from the Polish community needed somewhere where they could gather and meet. The first Polish folk dancing classes were started on Florence Road. Soon afterwards the Polish Brownies and Girl Guides were formed and Celina for many years was their guardian. With the ever increasing growth in young people larger premises were required and Celina was often asked to be the intermediary between the Polish community and the Ealing Council in procuring better and bigger venues for the Polish school and dances.
Following a short spell on the Parish Committee she moved over to the Parents’ Committee of the Polish school and became Vice-Chairman until the late sixties.
In 1963 Celina started the youth club on Saturday evenings which she oversaw with the help of Janusz for three years before the new Marian fathers took it over in 1966. This was the thousand year anniversary of Christianity in Poland, so the club was called ‘Millennium’.
In the mid 1950’s she had become acquainted with Marian Fathers – Jozef Jarzembowski and Pawel Jasinski . Later, when there occurred an interregnum in the parish following the death of the parish priest, they sent her on a mission to the Primate of Poland Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski to ask for a new parish priest and an assistant and nuns to be sent to this parish. In 1961 Celina was decorated with the silver cross ‘Order of Merit’ by Father Jarzembowski at Fawley Court. After several private meetings with Cardinal Wyszynski an agreement was reached for them to take over the Parish of Ealing and Celina was asked to help them settle into their new role. On her third visit to Poland in 1968 she was presented with the painting of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa to whom she developed a special devotion. The picture was blessed by the Primate of Poland and was to be hung in the Parish Church, where today she looks down upon the faithful parishioners here.
As a Polish Harcerka Druhna Juhre was actively involved with the Polish Scouts Friends’ Association ‘Kolo Przyjaciol Harcerstwa’ helping to organize scouting events and outings for the brownies and girl guides. With all this activity going on Celina and Janusz operated an open house policy for those who wished to visit. Their house at Grange Road was often used for guide meetings and young peoples gatherings. In 1970 Celina started the Anglo-Polish society to help those people in mixed Polish marriages interested in learning about the language, customs and traditions of both countries.
Early in the year of 1973 Celina‘s aunt died and later that year she moved to Staffordshire to take on the daunting task of her inheritance at Aqualate where she has lived for 37 years, accepting the position of her forbears as custodian of her family estate, continuing in the tradition of service to the community as Chairman of the Parish Council and the local Conservative Party.
In the spirit of her Family mottos she was always ready to do her duty neither seeking nor despising distinction; but always ready to go on.
Celina and Janusz leave three daughters and son Tadeusz who is her successor.