West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
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Pontefract Letters Page

MUSICAL MEMORIES OF PONTEFRACT

ADDED 3 MAY 2007

I have just read with great interest and delight, the article by Margaret Oates in the April 2007 issue of the Pontefract Digest.

I was friend of Margaret, then known as Margaret Hill, at the Pontefract Girls High School and always found her to be a happy and friendly girl, and, of course, very talented.  I also got to know her family quite well, particularly her mother, Maud, who more of later.  Margaret would not recognise me from my married name, but no doubt would remember Kathleen Rhodes. It was such a thrill to read of her travels and experiences as she followed her musical career.  She must have brought pleasure to many thousands of people.  I was aware that she had settled near Lancaster, as her mother always let me know when Margaret had been back to Pontefract.

I renewed my acquaintance with her mother, Maud, in her later years through St. Giles’ Church which we both attended regularly.  Maud was an extremely independent lady and even in her 90s would wait at the bus stop in Hardwick Road to either catch a bus to town or, more often than not, have a lift in any passing car that stopped.  We had many long conversations of the days when Margaret and I were young and carefree.  Maud also often spoke to my husband about her brother, E. Sheasby, who was killed in the Great War and whose name is on a memorial table in St. Giles Church for the Fallen Members of the St. Giles Company, Church Lads Brigade.

Although I cannot recall her, my husband knew Margaret’s friend Christine Parker, being a neighbour and friend of her brother Graham.  As mentioned in the article, the Parker's lived in Hartley Park and my husband lived just round the corner in Love Lane.  Their father was indeed the town’s Probation Officer and, my husband recalls, a very devout Methodist.

He was fascinated to read of Christine’s experiences and surprised to find that she is married to Wally Stott, resident in Hollywood and a friend of ‘stars of screen and stage’. Being an avid fan of The Goons from their earliest days on the radio, he knew all about Wally Stott but wasn’t aware that he had eventually married a Pontefract girl – obviously a sensible man!.
 (Norman Blackburn would no doubt have read this article with a particular interest in the Hollywood aspect).

Being able to ‘catch up’ with an old friend through the pages of The Digest reinforces the benefits and enjoyment it has brought to many Pomfretians, both here and in distant places.

Kathleen Battye


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