Wednesday, 26 January 2011


Sad day today with the funeral of a lady who meant a lot to my family. She was my brother's mother-in-law and grannie to my lovely (and very tall) nephew. This lady had a sad end to her life, but boy oh boy she packed a fair bit in to her years.  She was a classically trained ballet dancer and then became part of the famous Tiller Girls dance dance troupe. I'd question her relentlessly about her dancing at the London Palladium and in front of King George VI on the Royal Variety Performance but she would always play it down and never show off about it. She performed on stage with some of the biggest names in showbiz and I'd yearn for celebrity gossip on Shirley Bassey (who she knew) but would she spill? Would she buxton. She also did lots of charity work and received congratulatory letters from Lady Clementine Churchill, but rather than talk about this during our many, many christmas day meals together, would instead be happy to ask after everyone else and what they were up to. Her and I would sit next to each other and chat over the turkey dinner and share a glass of wine, a few filthy jokes and some salty language which she absolutely loved. One christmas lunch she passed me some roast potatoes and asked very politely how many I'd like and with a straight face I replied 'erm...14 please'. This absolutely cracked her up and became a standing joke between us for many meals to come. Our family are quite renowned for their parties with much dancing and exuberance which suited B's flamboyant character so well. After much champagne and gin & tonic flowing, the music would always end up with Frankie singing 'New York, New York' where B would showcase her Tiller Girl talents that put all the younger women to shame. Her finale would be a screaming high kick followed by the splits with arms extended and to much applause. When she did it with a fag in one hand and a still full glass of gin and tonic in the other, the cheering crowd went doubly wild. Blimey that lady had good legs matched with the suppleness of a Ukranian gymnast. 
My sister-in-law will miss her mum terribly and so will the rest of us. There will be a big empty space next to me at next year's christmas day meal. But I will always listen to New York, New York with a big smile on my face and remember B with huge fondness...


  1. nice post hel. always enjoyed B's company and late night chats (another story). liked your high-kicking memorial to her in the chapel yesterday. great lady.


  2. Cheers Paulie. I'm hoping she was looking down and having a chuckle watching that tribute. Was great seeing you R & E, pity in such sad circumstances x

  3. i met pauline stringer last saturday night she was at one of my gigs, shes in her 90s now god bless her. she was one of the original tiller girls.