Journal bids farewell to Fulbeck correspondent

Brenda Gilman.
Brenda Gilman.
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For the past 43 years the Journal could rely on Brenda Gilman to provide news from the village of Fulbeck.

Although she has now decided to relinquish the role after moving to Ruskington for health reasons, she still has close connections to the village and many fond memories of her 49 years there.

Brenda first became involved with the Journal in the early ‘70s when she was part of the Fulbeck village hall and playing field committee and helped to organise a dance to raise money for its renovation.

She remembers ringing up the Journal to report the fund-raising, and was asked by Brenda Welbourn if she could take on the role of correspondent for Fulbeck.

“I started writing various bits about the village for the Journal and then someone who wrote for the Sleaford Standard gave that up and I was asked to do that as well,” explained Brenda. “It all carried on from there really.”

Over the years Brenda has informed Journal readers about numerous events, issues and campaigns relating to Fulbeck, but when asked about the biggest story she has covered one in particular stands out.

She said: “I did a lot about Nirex, the Government’s nuclear waste agency, when they wanted to come to Fulbeck airfield and to dump nuclear waste.

“We did a raffle for a Vauxhall Nova to raise £11,000 for the campaign. We went down to London and on May 1, 1987, we heard that we’d won.”

Brenda is full of praise for Fulbeck’s community spirit, which she said has remained throughout the years and changes in residents.

She said: “It was a big wrench leaving, but I still go to St Nicholas’ Church where I was a member of the choir for 44 years.”

Not only has Brenda been singing at the church for decades, but with her husband Michael has been bell-ringing since 1976, and served as captain of the tower.

Indeed it is fair to say that Brenda could not have got more involved in village life, being a member of the parish council for 23 years, as well as joint editor of the village newsletter for 18 years.

Meanwhile, her continuous fund-raising has benefited the Red Cross and the British Legion, which presented Brenda with a certificate and medal to recognise her 45 years of charity work, while she also received thanks for being a long-standing co-ordinator of the Grantham and District Neighbourhood Watch.

“I love to be busy and I like to be involved in things,” said Brenda, who alongside her voluntary work has had jobs in Lincolnshire Post Offices, and drove both a NAAFI van at RAF Cranwell and a bus for Sir William Robertson High School.

Throughout she has been supported by her husband of 55 years Michael, who fell for her after a case it seems not of love at first sight but love at first sound.

Brenda explained: “I was a telephonist at Lincoln Post Office and he was a civilian employee at RAF Coningsby on the switchboard. They rang through every morning to ask for TIM the speaking clock, ready for the airmen coming in as the clocks had to be right.

“One morning he asked me for TIM and said, ‘Please dear’, to which I said ‘Don’t dear me!’ I think it must have whetted his appetite, because he rang through again to talk to me. We then met on a blind date.”

They were married at Tattershall Church in 1959 and bought a small-holding at Kirkby on Bain, where they had their two sons Richard and Stephen.

The family then moved to Fulbeck, which is still home to Richard who has two sons Joshua and Thomas, while Stephen lives in Bassingham and has a daughter Alice and son James.

Moreover, Brenda’s family has always had firm roots in the area, as she added: “My dad and mum were both from Lincolnshire, as were my grandma and grandad.

“I’m what you might call a Lincolnshire thoroughbred.”