A week in the life column

Mabel and Margaret Peacock with Sue Turner
Mabel and Margaret Peacock with Sue Turner

I have been writing this weekly column since March of this year and I have often wondered if anyone reads it!

Not being a journalist, or for that fact very good at English, I have been corrected many times by my very able colleague Kirsty who types and proof reads this feature. Last week I received a phone call from a lady called Jane who is a journalist and what follows is written by her.

A local newspaper column about life in and around Pateley Bridge has helped to reunite farming neighbours after 50 years.

Sue Turner (formerly Sneesby) and her daughters Jane and Jenny Sneesby visited Mrs Mabel Peacock and her daughter Margaret at their home in Pateley on Saturday to reminisce about farming above Wath in the 1960s.

The meeting was arranged through Keith Tordoff after Jane came across his ‘Week in the Life of’ article about Mrs Mabel Peacock celebrating her 102nd birthday in May 2017.

Sue and Howard Sneesby arrived at Lamb Close Farm, Wath in 1964, with two young children, having previously farmed for the Government in Tanzania. The Peacock family were their nearest neighbours at Wood Top Farm, above Wath.

Sue recalls: “The road was so steep that the postman could only get as far as the Peacock’s so we used to call in to collect our post and that’s how we got to know Mabel and the family. They were the kindest people and I will never forget how they helped us with the farming and looked after the children for us.”

“We had electricity and a telephone, but no inside toilet. There were several harsh winters when we were cut off for a week or more, so we were grateful to have such good neighbours,” said Sue, who had two more children – Rachel and Mark – whilst at Lamb Close.

The Sneesby family left in 1967 when Howard got a job as farm manager for an estate in Lancashire owned by the Moores family, who founded Littlewoods Pools and shops. Mrs Turner now lives in North Norfolk, her daughters live in Suffolk and London and her son, Mark, lives in Cheshire.

Jane, aged 57, who started school in Pateley Bridge, said: “It’s been wonderful to come back to this area to see the farm we remember as small children. We are very grateful to John and Jean Cheetham at Lamb Close for letting us look around.

“It was amazing to meet Mabel and Margaret after all these years; their sharp memories are remarkable and it’s hard to believe it has been fifty years. We have been overwhelmed by the friendliness of people in this area and very impressed by Keith’s efforts to promote Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale. It’s a lovely place and we hope to return more often.”

Jane who wrote the article above trained to be a journalist at Rotherham Advertiser with none other than Jeremy Clarkson (him who went onto present BBC Top Gear). Her siste Jenny is a producer for BBC Radio 5 and I am hoping that she may consider me for one of her live broadcasts. You know me - never stops talking!

Jane, Jenny and their mum Sue visited our shop in Pateley Bridge before going onto their reunion with Mabel and her family. Whilst visiting Pateley Bridge, by coincidence Jane the journalist met Jean Bailey, whose daughter Elaine was her best friend at primary school! Who knows, this story could run and run with Jane the journalist writing articles for me to fit into this feature!