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BETTY KATE TIMMERHUES

Although not Nationally famous, Betty was a well know and well loved character who did a lot to benefit the village and the people who live there.

Born on 26th September 1930, Betty Kate was the youngest child of Edward and Bess Spencer. Along with her siblings Debbie, Elsie and Jack she attended Billingborough school. Her father was an agricultural worker with a tied cottage at Stowe and they had to walk 3 miles to school each day. Betty was encouraged to join the school choir at a very early age which cured her stammer and led to her love of music.
As a teenager Betty would cycle to Folkingham for the dances in the village hall. In those days it was just a wooden hut heated by two black pot-bellied coke burning stoves. When the American G.I’s were stationed at the RAF camp during the latter part of the Second World War, they arranged the dances and provided refreshments. The money raised was for British Forces comforts. Betty left school at the age of 14 and went into service. At the nearby village of Horbling was a POW Camp and eight of the men were billeted next door to where Betty lived. One of them was August (Gus) Timmerhues from Munster in Germany. He grew to love this country and also fell in love with Betty. At the end of the war he applied for permanent            

Betty and Gus were married in Threekingham church on June 4th 1949 and Gus was offered a farm cottage in Back Lane, Folkingham, now known as Chapel Lane, in front of the Weslyan Chapel. Betty’s father said his family was like the League of Nations as his daughter Debbie had married a British/Italian and Elsie had married a Polish/American.

They stayed in the cottage for two years and then moved on to the RAF Camp where the nisson huts and brick buildings had been converted into living accommodation for the growing population of the village. Here they stayed for five years accumulating points to get one of the new council houses which were being built on West Street in the village. Betty gave up her job as assistant cook at Horbling school where she had cycled daily for the past two years. The camp site was divided into the four points of the compass and Betty and Gus lived in a Nissen hut on the East Estate. Betty soon made it very homely and loved the family atmosphere of the small community. They were not isolated as the local bus company ran a service to nearby towns and the schools. They had regular delivery vans calling, the butcher, baker, grocer and greengrocer.

In 1951 a son and only child named David Timothy (Tim) was born and the following year Betty was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a part mastectomy followed by radiotherapy at Grantham hospital. After Tim went to school Betty worked on the land as the seasons required and Gus remained at Miller’s farm until it was sold. He then worked for Bulldog Remould Tyres in Sleaford until he retired. The family moved across the road from the council house in West Street in 1963 having bought a cottage from Peter Key which had belonged to his farm in Laughton. In the late 1960’s Betty was ward orderly at Rauceby Hospital for 5 years until the big C returned with vengeance.

Nothing would deter our Betty. She lived life to the full singing and whistling away. She travelled to Germany, the States and Australia visiting family. Betty was very much involved with village life and the church. She was a member of the Mother’s Union and the WI which had to be disbanded through lack of members.   → Page 2