Freelance writer Colin MacLeod delves into the mystical life of Grantham woman Doris Stokes 30 years after her death.
“For most people, Grantham will forever be remembered as the birthplace of the late former Prime Minister Lady Margaret Thatcher, someone known and respected the world over.
There is no denying she was indeed a great English lady who guided and inspired her country through difficult times.
Grantham is also the birthplace of another remarkable English lady, the late clairaudient (medium) Doris Stokes, who became internationally famous in her time in Australia, America and Canada.
As plain Doris Sutton, she grew up living at Turnor Crescent, where her father worked as a blacksmith. Sadly, he suffered continuous problems with his chest as a result of gassing in the First World War.
Doris recounted that she became aware of her psychic talents from a young age, but who could have guessed how far and wide her gift would lead her! Who could have imagined that she would be responsible for filling the Sydney Opera House in Australia on three consecutive nights and appear both there and in America and Canada, on radio and television.
At home in England, she performed up and down the country in venues such as The Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool and the Brighton Pavilion to name but two.
During the wartime, Doris joined the RAF where she met her future husband, John, who was also in the RAF at the time.
He survived Arnhem and returned to work for Major and Lady Turner at Little Ponton.
Doris and John had two sons, John Michael and Terry. Tragically, John Michael died in infancy. They moved to London and settled there, Doris having been recruited as resident medium at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain’s headquarters. Her reputation grew and grew and she travelled extensively throughout England, to Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, then east to Ipswich and west to Bristol and Gloucester.
Doris was invited to tour Australia where she enjoyed great success, which included appearing on the then well-known Don Lane Show.
Whilst working there she met Dick Emery who was to become a great and lasting friend. Dick recognised the genuinely humble person that Doris was – unaware of her ‘star’ status – and attempted to boost her self esteem by telling her that he had played before an audience of 3,000 at the Entertainment Centre in Perth – Doris, in comparison, had performed at the same venue before 8,000!
Doris held the view that because of the psychic powers she possessed she was simply demonstrating how this enabled her to bring messages of comfort and joy to so many people before her.
Her tour of Australia had a snowball effect and she was invited to tour America and Canada, where she again appeared on radio and on television.This included the Midday Live show and when in Canada the John Gilbert Show on three occasions.
Back home, she found herself on The Terry Wogan Show and even on Desert Island Discs.
Doris had a documentary dedicated to her and found time to become a best-selling author. She unsurprisingly had her critics, which included Claire Rayner, and whilst in private she confessed how much this hurt her, nevertheless outwardly showed resilience to continue seemingly unaffected.
Certainly, she was requested for consultations by many stars of showbusiness, names including Julie Goodyear, John Inman, Diana Dors, Danny La Rue, Bert Weedon and Freddie Starr, to name a few. She was even requested to give a consultation to the daughter of President Bhutto of Pakistan.
Doris unfortunately suffered from some serious health issues during her lifetime, latterly suffering from a number of strokes, but always she continued to work whenever she could.
2016 heralds the 30th anniversary of her death, a Grantham girl who performed on the world’s stage and who touched the hearts of thousands of people. Whatever anyone feels about her and her life, one thing cannot be denied – she brought joy and comfort to so many when they needed it most.”
** Books by Doris Stokes:
Voices in my Ear
More Voices in my Ear
Innocent Voices in my Ear
A Host of Voices
Voices of Love
Joyful Voices Omnibus