SLHA has lost a prominent and highly regarded member in the death of
Brenda Webster. Brenda was for many years the chairman of
SLHA's Local History Committee.
Brenda passed away on Saturday 24 August 2019 after a short stay in Lincoln County Hospital. She was born in Grimsby, where her father was a policeman, and in 1955 married John Webster, who served in the RNAS. One posting was in Cornwall where their accommodation was a caravan. This was still on the farm there until comparatively recently, providing a quiet holiday place for Brenda. John died in a plane crash whilst on active service.
Although her family had moved from Grimsby to Heighington before she had completed her course at Winteringham Grammar School, Brenda boarded in Grimsby to finish her studies. She went on to Keele University before becoming a civil servant at the American Base at Wyton, where she advised the troops on life in England. She followed this by employment with the Community Council.
Her love of Local History led her to read for a Local History degree which she completed under the tutorship of Jim Johnston at Bishop Grosseteste College (now University). Having completed the course, along with fellow graduates, she organised regular meetings for many years in the pursuit of further studies of Lincolnshire. Not content with a BA, Brenda went on to obtain an M. Phil. with Hull University in the 1990s.
The house at Heighington had the smithy attached and it is only a few years ago that Brenda disposed of the tools and equipment left just as if her father had completed a day’s work. Her mother was a WI member and the daughter continued to enjoy the community there.
Brenda was a long time member of SLHA and before that the Lincolnshire Local History Society, being willing to take office on the various committees and spend time in active participation in a number of projects. She served on the Executive Committee and supported the Industrial Archaeology Team. She was also involved with the Family History Branch in their churchyard memorial inscription recording and with transcriptions for their numerous publications. Above all, she was very active in the Local History Committee and was chairman of the group for a number of years.
Having written a history of Potterhanworth Parish Church, she prepared guidelines for other would-be authors. These are published on SLHA website. Naturally Brenda has made other studies of Heighington and area, given talks on it and conducted village walks. Heighington parish registers have been transcribed, giving Brenda a useful source of information so that she could answer national and international queries sent to the Parish Council. In addition she mounted exhibitions on the village with documents and artefacts she has accumulated. Another contribution to the SLHA website is an article for local history group giving a range of tips and general advice.
‘Ration Books and Rabbit Pie’, a book published by SLHA in 2008 about the Lincolnshire Home Front in World War 2, was edited by Brenda’s close friend and colleague, Linda Crust. Brenda was a key member of the small team that worked with Linda collecting oral material and preparing it for publication.
On a different note, Brenda took pleasure in catering for any and every opportunity, always being the first to volunteer. She did a good professional job. Many who enjoyed the spread said she had missed her vocation. Certainly, volunteering was written large on her list of interests and activities until, of recent years, she had problems with her eyesight. Nevertheless, despite this handicap, it did not stop her in her enthusiastic approach to all things to do with history and her zest for life in general. She was a dedicated student of Lincolnshire history and was an outstanding contributor to research on it.