Daily Mail

Extraordin­ary LIVES

- MY MOTHER LYNETTE by Jane Waldron

MUM was an only child who was brought up by her beloved Gran and two aunties, who lived in a three-bed semi in Redditch, Worcesters­hire. She excelled at school, where she developed a love of the English language. Aged 18, she got a job at a local chemist’s and took a correspond­ence course in ecclesiast­ical studies. Not long afterwards she answered a newspaper advert inviting young women to become pen pals with British servicemen overseas. And that’s how she started writing letters to my future father, Eric, a lance corporal and chef with the 17th/21st Lancers, serving in Aden. They hit it off and within a year they met face-to-face at Redditch bus station. They married two months later.

Soon afterwards Dad was posted to Paderborn, Germany, where I was born in 1964, with my brother Anthony following a year later. Dad’s next posting was Tidworth garrison in Wiltshire. My brother Adrian was born there in 1966 and twins Jackie and Terry arrived in 1967. Dad left the Army to become a chef on Civvy Street and we moved back to Mum’s childhood home in Redditch. I gained three more siblings in the 1970s, Beth,

Emma and James, and finally Suzy was born in 1984. Nine of us in all! Our home was always full of life with Mum at the centre of it all. If a friend wanted to stay for tea, an extra plate was laid. If someone needed a bed for the night, they were offered the settee and a blanket. Our door was always open and everyone was welcome — Mum took it all in her stride.

She loved animals and we had a stream of pets — dogs, cats, budgies, guinea pigs, geese, chickens, ducks and even a Shetland pony. One day an African grey parrot flew into the garden. We put an ad in the local newspaper, but no one claimed it, so it was added to the menagerie. To our amusement, it swore like a trooper and imitated the fire engines when they raced out of the fire station, sirens blaring. Mum also found time to write poems, often featuring the character Farmer Giles, many of which were published in the Mail’s Peterborou­gh column. She gave poetry readings to the church Woman’s Guild and had a slot on BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester. Children were at the heart of Mum’s life. She loved her job as a classroom assistant at a middle school and was happy to babysit and do school runs for her 20 grandchild­ren and seven great-grandchild­ren. She had a gift for listening and we all miss her words of advice and comfort.

■ LYNETTE MICHELE WADLOW, born September 20, 1942; died January 12, 2023, aged 80.

 ?? ?? Published poet: Lynette Wadlow
Published poet: Lynette Wadlow

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