Mella was born and grew up in London. Her father had various jobs including being a secretary to an MP and her mother was involved with the Women's Voluntary Committee. During the Second World War Mella became a WREN and worked as a radar mechanic, and she met her future husband on the same base as her. They eventually moved to Surbiton, building the family home at the bottom of her grandmother's garden. Mella's grandmother was one of the women who started up the Surbiton Infant Welfare Centre in 1918, and it provided help in the form of milk, medicines and hospital treatment to Surbiton mothers and children in need. These sessions became known as the baby clinics. Once her grandmother had stopped volunteering for the group, Mella was brought in to volunteer until the use of volunteers was phased out by the NHS, and the volunteers held their last meeting in 2005. Mella has also volunteered for the Red Cross doing Meals on Wheels and for the Alfriston Day Centre.