Molly’s Children, a recently-published book, tells the history of the St Giles’
Youth Fellowship from its official formation in 1948 to its closure in 1983.
It lives on in the hearts of many former members, some still living locally, including several in their 8os who still meet for lunch twice a year.
Sylvia James told The Local News: “The book is the dream of several of the original members and Jean Bowes (nee Sibert) has done a miraculous job in using her own memorabilia and photographs, along with contributions from previous reports of events and reunions and recent reflections from members.
“Those early days were of course very significant being the immediate post-war years.
“Why Molly’s Children? Molly Whittaker, a shy, single academic, lecturing in Classics, Theology and Greek, was not the most obvious youth leader, but the many testimonies over the years prove that she was to be an inspiration to many people.
“It was Canon R F Wilkinson, rector of St Giles, who made the very significant decision to ask her to lead the group.
“It has been calculated that there have been over 700 members over the years. Nearly 50 members attended the 60th anniversary service and lunch at Sysonby, near Jean’s home, in 2008.
“In 2011, the last big reunion in West Bridgford saw 120 members in church and the old Parochial Hall.
Many had travelled long distances to be there. June Wilson being the furthest – timing her UK trip home from Calgary so that she could attend.
“Three particular West Bridgford names became well known far afield.
“John Treadgold and his wife Hazel (nee Bailey). John from head choirboy at St Giles to a Queen’s chaplain at Windsor, retiring as Dean of Chichester. Hazel became the worldwide president of the Mothers’ Union.
“Pat Heywood went from local drama festivals to Bristol Old Vic and ‘Salad Days’ to being nominated for an Oscar for her film role as the nurse in Romeo and Juliet. She also appeared in 10 Rillington Place as Mrs Christie
“The book, a limited edition, is available, priced £6.50 and two copies have gone to West Bridgford Library.
“This book is about Molly and her influence in those early years, but the Fellowship went on beyond her time and her influence was still felt.
“However, there could well be a sequel if any members from the second 20 years are encouraged to write their memories.”
If you would like to enquire about buying a book, or have Fellowship memories of your own, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 981 9200 and we will put you in touch.