Since the last issue of Barrow Voice I have received some more memories about the lovely and much missed Mrs L. I have to thank Adrienne Webbon and Jean Lawson for sharing their recollections, both of them worked with Mrs L during her time at Hall Orchard Primary School.
Mrs L was born in the Ukraine in 1929 and lived on her parents’ farm until the war. She came to the UK in 1948, with her mother from Germany, where they had been held prisoners of war. She very quickly learned to speak English and make a new life for herself. She married in the early 1950s and settled in Barrow upon Soar. Her four children all went to the local primary schools. Her husband, Eugene, worked at Brush Electrical Machines from the late 1950s until he retired. Having come across Europe, fl eeing the Red Army advance, held prisoner by the Germans, she had fluency in Ukrainian, Russian, German and French as well as English and used this knowledge as an interpreter for local industry.
After having her family she worked at Driver’s factory for some time. She began her work at Hall Orchard in about 1972, when Mr Barker was headmaster. He wanted someone who could turn their hands to most things but most importantly, control children. She undertook all manner of work, from cooking to mixing paint, helping with art and needlework. She listened to pupils reading and undertook “dinner ladies” duties for some years. Adrienne remembers that she even had duties on Saturday mornings collecting money for children’s swimming lessons at Humphrey Perkins pool. Latterly she worked as a lunchtime supervisor. The children loved her: she treated them all firmly but fairly. She often had objects from her many collections to show and share with them especially her key rings: she had over 3,000 in her collection! She retired in 1994 at the age of 65 years, but continued to help in school for some time after that.
Mrs L came from another country, another culture, but she was Barrow upon Soar. She was interested in everything and everybody in the village. She loved going to rummage sales, charity shops and especially the mini-market at the Methodist Church on a Saturday morning. Her hobbies and collections gave her enormous pleasure. She collected jugs, postcards, photographs and she really enjoyed sewing, particularly making cushion covers. She had a wonderful eye for colour and fashion. She could alter and turn anything into a perfect outfit for herself. She always looked perfect.
Her great love was the work she did for the Ukrainian Scout and Guide movement. Her summer holiday was spent at their camp. Some of those she took to camp remained in contact with her until her death. She travelled to scout camps abroad and represented the movement on some occasions.
Mrs L, latterly, would be remembered as the lady with the shopping trolley called “George” (so named by one of the teachers at Hall Orchard Primary School) often seen waiting at the bus stop in the High Street, a figure missed by her many friends everywhere.
What an interesting, talented lady she was. I’m sure many readers will have their own special memories of Mrs L.