CITY girl Iris Sturgeon re-invented herself as a farmer during the Second World War.

And, because of that, the 84-year-old has now been honoured for serving as part of the Land Army through backbreaking work in the fields.

Iris, who is originally from London but now lives in Greenmeadow, has been sent a commemorative badge from Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

She is one of thousands to receive official recognition for the role played by the Land Army women in a time of crisis.

Women were called upon to help in agriculture as the men went to fight in the war and by the peak year of 1943 80,000 were serving. “I am thrilled to bits with the badge – it is so sweet,” said Iris.

“I received the message from Gordon Brown last week.”

At 18 Iris started working on different farms around the Yeovil area milking cows and hay making.

“I loved every minute of it,” she said. “It was very very good.

“It was very hard work but everybody pushed.

“I remember a farmer telling me he wanted the cabbage sowed a certain distance apart.

“I looked around and he was talking about a huge field – not a garden.

“I don’t think I could work in a farm now as I know what happens to the animals afterwards.

“I remember the cows crying for their young after being sent away to be slaughtered.”

After two and a half years Iris contracted dermatitis and was sent back to London.

“I was very upset to leave the farming,” she said. “Then I was sent to work on radios.”

When she moved back to London she applied her new-found greenfingers to her own garden.

Within no time she was making the most of her large garden and was churning out vegetables.

But a few years ago she moved out of London and to Swindon to be closer to her family after the death of her husband Henry.

Sadly, these days her garden is a bit much for her.

“I have rheumatism so I have a gardener in to keep on top of things for me,” she said. “These days it’s more about flowers.

“I just want to thank the lady who got recognition for the Land Girls.

“She deserves thanks from people all over the country. We had to work hard when we were Land Girls but she worked hard making sure we got recognition from the Government.”