A True Star

IN a world where celebrities are dubbed heroes and where people are made famous by appearing on reality TV shows it’s always refreshing to read about real heroes or heroines.

One such heroine is Rossana Banti.

This incredibly brave woman is about to turn 90, but as a teenager she joined the Special Operations Executive and ran British secret agents behind enemy lines.

More than 70 years later – at a ceremony at the British embassy in Rome – she is being presented with three medals, the Italy Star, the Victory Medal and the 1939-1945 Medal.

But does she boast about what she did?

Does she seek eternal adoration from an army of fans?

No, quite the opposite.

She says that during the last seven decades she had barely spoken about her role in the war.

She told a national newspaper: “People of my generation just got on with what we had to do. We never really talked about it after the war – even my children and grandchildren know very little of what I did.”

It’s a far cry from the social media maelstrom in which we live, where we feel compelled to share even the most banal of life events, and where C list celebrities become world news for posting ‘selfies’.

It was Mrs Banti’s son-in-law who applied for the medals, keeping it secret from her until it was confirmed.

Her response upon finding out: “I’m deeply honoured but a bit embarrassed too. I’m an old girl now and it all happened 70 years ago, for God’s sake.”

What a star!