Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Doris Jenkinson-Spurr: My Mother's Centenary


My late mother, who would have turned a hundred this week. 

She was born on 4 February 1916, in West Melton, South Yorkshire. After leaving school she took the unusual step ~ for those days, in a tightly-knit community such as hers ~ of moving away from home to work in a Sheffield hospital, usually reserved for mental patients but at the time also taking in the children of unmarried mothers. Her own baby had died, and her vocation later saw her wanting to adopt a child herself, which was where I entered the equation.

In the meantime, after leaving the hospital, Mother worked at Waldenberg's Bakery in Leeds. Her next door neighbour was Frank Abelson, who later became Frankie Vaughan. They dated, but broke up when he went to London to take up a boxing career. Later of course he became the famous singer. Mother then returned to West Melton, where she got engaged to local businessman Bill Simpson. This did not work out, and she made the great mistake of marrying George Spurr, a man who made her life an absolute misery. I won't go into that here, only that Mother took her own life ~ in the wake of a catalogue of ill health and abuse ~ on 1 June 1971. Her funeral, three days later, was at the time the largest there had ever been in the community. 

I was adopted by Doris and George, and took their name. In April 1971, Mother filed for divorce and reverted to her maiden name, Doris Jenkinson. I legally changed my own name in 1988. O.B. as he was known died in December 1993, when measures were taken to ensure that he would not be buried with the much-loved woman whose life he had made a misery. 

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