Eileen Pakenham (1914-2009) was born in south London. In 1938, aged 24, she sailed for Africa and founded a school in Uganda. At the end of the war, on the first ship sailing for England on leave she met her future husband and after a whirlwind romance they were married in 1947 before he returned to his position as the senior Colonial Officer in Zanzibar. After four years in Zanzibar, now having two young sons, she found the intense heat of the tropical coast too debilitating and returned to England with her boys, and lived in Farnham, where her husband rejoined her after a couple of years.
In Luton, she then got to know Irene Bone, the daughter of Philip J. Bone, author of the influential "The Guitar and Mandolin". The friendship led to many compositions for both mandolin and piano, and also for plucked string ensemble. Eileen Pakenham was involved with the British Mandolin and Guitar Society where she won several awards for composition. Her music has become recognised worldwide and all the profits from her published works go to Amnesty International, in which she had a considerable interest