Isle woman recounts long association with Epworth Bells and Crowle Advertiser

Thursday marks the end of an era as it is the final edition of the Epworth Bells and Crowle Advertiser.

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 8:55 am

The paper has served the Isle of Axholme since 1872 – and one resident who will be particularly sad to see it go is Freda Hields.

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The Belton great-grandmother and her family has had a long association with the publication - possibly even dating right back to the paper's origins almost 150 years ago.

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Freda Hields.

She has always read the paper - as did her parents and grandparents before her – while latterly her children and their their families have taken delivery of the Bells.

She said: “Our family announcements have always gone into the births, deaths and marriages sections.

“I've kept a little box of the newspaper clippings. I've got some good memories in there.”

Freda remembers delivering copies of the paper around Crowle as a young girl during the Second World War.

She said: “At school we used to have to practice if there were any air raids overhead by sitting under the desks and we had to know how to put gas masks on.

“Then every Friday I used to go straight to the printing office from school to collect the papers.

I went all aound Crowle on a Friday night and the first house I always came to was that of a retired farmer and they used to leave a plate on a worktop in the kitchen with a penny on it and a piece of cake for me as a thank you, and then I would be on my way again to the next house.”

Her association continued into adulthood as she appeared many times in the paper as part of the Beltonians musical theatre group.

She said: “I was in the Beltonians for 18 years and we always did a pantomime at Christmas and a summer concert every year.

“There was about 30 of us. We were all good friends, and we were always in the paper.

“I was also a member for the Jubilee Choir for about the same amount of time. I always loved singing and performing.

“There was always something going on.”

Today also marks her 88th birthday – and while she is pleased to appear in the paper as a special treat, Freda is also sad to see the Bells go.

She said: “Every Thursday morning I always look for the Bells coming through the letterbox, that is the first thing I do.

“The paper is going to be really missed.”