This World Vegan Day, we wanted to shine a light on the poignant story of Serena Coles.
V for Life will be returning to VegfestUK London 2023, with its ever popular V for Life Zone (formerly known as the Mature Zone). The Zone has been running since 2015 and the first visitor on that occasion was the remarkable Kirsten Jungsberg.
Kirsten had found her old vegan friend Serena Coles in a care home. When they were first reunited, Serena was quick to point at her friend’s Vegan Society lapel badge: “Vegan,” said Serena, “I am a vegan. And that is new”. Serena had gone vegan during the war. Passionate about animal rights, she was an early Vice President of The Vegan Society. You can hear Serena speak about her veganism in the short video above.
Tragically however, Serena went on to develop dementia. And, when Kirsten was reunited with her long-lost friend, she found the care home feeding Serena meat and dairy.
A long battle with the care home caterers began, led by the determined Kirsten. It was made all the more difficult by Serena's family: “She had a separate kitchen to her husband when she was at home,” said Kirsten. “Her husband had even instructed the care home to ignore her veganism.”
But there was some light at the end of the tunnel. Not only did Serena begin to get regular visitors, but when she died aged 95, her veganism was finally being supported by the care home.
It is this very story that inspired the creation of the charity V for Life, back in 2008.
V for Life is dedicated to improving the quality of life for older vegans and vegetarians. Offering support, advice and information, we work directly with individuals, and also with those establishments that cater for older adults, such as care homes.
V for Life will once again host the V for Life Zone at this year's VegfestUK London 2023, at Olympia National on 18 and 19 November. To celebrate, we are offering 20 free tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. If you would like to request a free ticket for Vegfest, send us an email by following the link here.
Read more inspiring stories in V for Life's Veggie Voices online exhibition.