THE COLOURFUL life of a Saddleworth Parish Councillor is captured in a wonderful new book published by Age UK Oldham.
‘My Life Story’ by Mavis Bingley, 77, offers 111 pages of delightful memories and pictures from her childhood to the present day.
Mavis explained: “I loved doing it and it brought back a lot of memories. My family didn’t know I was doing it but they will love it!
“I have had a very good life, full of different experiences and people and I hope there is plenty more to come!”
The book details Mavis’s start to life in an orphanage in Portsmouth before she was adopted aged four by Elsie and Cyril Smith and moved to Saddleworth.
There are childhood memories of playing hopscotch, hula-hoop in the streets, riding the hills on her bike, and helping her dad in his prize-winning allotment.
She recalls Friezland Primary School where she loved English and Geography lessons but hated school meals – ironic as she later became a dinner lady there.
Cheeky Mavis also remembers how she purposefully failed an entrance exam to Oldham Hulme Grammar so she could go to Saddleworth School instead!
Her young life was filled with trips to the ‘flea pit’ at the children’s cinema in Uppermill, where she would crunch carrots rather than sweets to save her teeth.
As a young adult, Mavis became a Sunday School teacher as well as table tennis champion in the Saddleworth League and manager of a netball team.
In 1964, she married painter and decorator Louis Bingley, who she met on a blind date at the cinema, at Greenfield Methodist Church.
While raising their children – Michael and twins Angela and Kathleen – she took up a post as dinner lady at Friezland School and ended up staying for 35 years.
Ever active, she became a Brown Owl leading the cubs, which sparked her love of owls and collection of more than 500 ornaments and decorations for her home.
Her community involvement and contribution earned her a special nomination and trip to Buckingham Palace for a Garden Party in 2005.
In retirement, she enjoyed a time share in Tenerife with husband Louis, before he passed away seven years ago aged 73.
Now, after two hip replacements and a new knee, Mavis is still going strong and was re-elected onto Saddleworth Parish Council in May.
Nicola said: “It’s a great project to do with people to look back over their interesting lives and recall people and places that are important to them.
“Not many of the books are anywhere as near as long as Mavis’s though!”
The Life Story project has been running since 2006 and helps around 60 people a year publish their memories.
To find out more about the Age UK Oldham Life Story project please contact co-ordinator Nicola Shore by phone 0161 622 9257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org