COLUMN: PG’s Tips with Pete Gillings: ‘My mum’s good innings and still peeling spuds at age 90’

Diss, Norfolk. Pete Gillings - Christmas Vox Pop

Diss, Norfolk. Pete Gillings - Christmas Vox Pop

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My Mum, Mary Ellen Gillings (Nellie) was born on February 20, 1914, so, had she lived, she would have been 100 yesterday.

Her father, Paddy O’Farrell was a regular soldier and was one of the first to go to the front in the First World War. He made it to the end (apparently), and was posted to India which was where Mum first saw him five years later. She was bought up in a convent and spoke enough Hindustani to get by with the locals.

Word has it, she crept through the brush with a friend to watch an illegal burial one day where the wife threw herself on the funeral fire to be with her husband, long since banned by the British Empire. Coming home on the troop ship, she also witnessed a burial at sea. Quite a lot for a child to take in.


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