Your roving reporter had the sad but ultimately pleasant opportunity to attend Molly Jenkins funeral service at Grantham Crematorium. Although I was very friendly with Harry and Molly, being a Johnny come lately to Wing, there were many little snippets I had no idea about. So, after the service I had a word with Molly’s Daughter Janet and was able to get a copy of the text reproduced below. This was read by Caroline, a member of the family at the service. I suspect many Wing inhabitants will be interested in the full story of one of Wings characters that we always had pleasure in meeting.
Molly was born on the 10th of December 1926, one of 5 children to Frank and Mary-Jane Goodliffe. Her father was a farmhand who eventually settled in Exton which is where Molly and her brother and sisters grew up. Molly had a happy childhood and was particularly close to her dad.
After leaving school, Molly was adamant that she didn’t want to work inside in a shop or factory, she wanted to work on the land – much to her dad’s disapproval. But strong-willed Molly won the day and she went to work for a farmer called Chuff around Empingham and Whitwell, where she spent many happy years. One of Molly’s duties was herding cattle through Oakham town centre, ever mindful that the cows didn’t venture into the shops.
Molly met a young man from Greetham called Harold Butcher who was on a break from the war. On his return 6 years later he looked her up and they started courting and married shortly after. Harold eventually started working for his brother-in-law, Charlie Turner. Molly and Harold bought a house in The Terrace in Greetham which is where their 2 children – Michael and Janet – were born. Charlie and his wife Edie lived next door to them in the Terrace and it was a happy time for them all.
Molly and Harold saved hard and were able to purchase a plot of land and build their own bungalow in Wheatsheaf Lane in Greetham. At the top of the garden, they had a piggery where they bred their own pigs before sending them to Grandad Butcher to take to market. Janet remembers the family hand-rearing Charlie, the runt of one of the litters, and also remembers being distraught to come home from school one day to find Charlie had gone to Grandad’s. They also kept chickens which kept them in eggs and gave them a few good Sunday dinners. They had a huge garden in which they grew flowers and vegetables and this started Molly’s love of growing all her own produce.
In September 1964, Harold was tragically killed whilst driving his lorry, leaving Molly to bring up Michael and Janet on her own. She took on many jobs to support her young family, including potato picking and working at menial jobs on local farms and delivering newspapers around the village.
In the early 70’s Molly started work as a barmaid in the Wheatsheaf and it was there that she met Harry Jenkins, House Master for Melbourne’s Brewery. Harry, who had 2 sons Graham and Andrew asked Molly to marry him a couple of years later and they became landlord and landlady of the Cuckoo Inn at Wing. They stayed there until they retired in 1990 when they moved to Whissendine. Molly rekindled her love of gardening and grew all her own vegetables. Harry passed away in 2013 after Molly had nursed him through a long illness, despite being in her 80’s herself.
Extremely caring and always willing to help others, Molly was a much loved Mum, Step-Mum, Nan, Step-Nan and Great Nan. She was also a very stubborn and very blunt lady, who from an early age knew her own mind. Much of her time in recent years was spent in the bookies, as horse racing was another great passion in her life. She also loved her holidays and, when Harry was well enough to be left, she enjoyed many coach holidays with Janet – the last one being to Ilfracombe in August. Molly was also a closet Man United fan who never stopped talking about Wayne Rooney., although lately she changed her allegiance to Jamie Vardy. She wasn’t a great watcher of TV but did like Deal or No Deal, Tipping Point and The Chase. Molly was also very resourceful and if she missed the bus to Melton, she would think nothing of sticking out her thumb and hitching a lift. One day a man stopped and said “Don’t you think you’re being a bit silly, hitching rides at your age with people you don’t know?” to which Molly replied “Are you giving me a lift or not? If not, shut up!”. He did pick her up but explained that he was only going as far as Burton Lazars – Molly however worked her charm and he ended up taking her all the way to Melton.
Molly became ill late in 2015 and was diagnosed with bowel cancer. She was admitted to Leicester General Hospital in November and passed away on the 6th of December in Rutland Memorial Hospital in Oakham. Everyone who met Molly loved her and said what a character she was but, as they say to the losing contestants at the end of The Chase ……. For you Molly, sadly the chase is over.
Another interesting fact I learned talking to Janet. Alan, Molly’s step grandson, spent all the summer holidays with Molly and Harry at the Cuckoo in the 80’s (he was then about 7 or 8) Alan still has very fond memories of Wing.