a writing by James Stephen Thompson

My Word

Alma Brenda Thompson Was born in September 1920 in Chesterfield, an only child, and soon moved with her parents down the Erewash Valley and continued to live happily in this area for the rest of her life.

Schooled in Stapleford and Ilkeston she started secretarial work at the Stanton Ironworks, where her dad also worked all his life, and Alma fondly recalled walking to and from the family home on Ilkeston Rd, Trowell to the Stanton Ironworks along the then ‘country lanes’ with her dad.

It was the outbreak of WWII which interrupted this routine when Alma was 18. Her boyfriend from Stapleford was tragically killed on his 21st birthday whilst training as an RAF pilot. Alma soon joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force or WAAF to serve her country and as the Allies slowly moved into Germany, Alma followed serving in particular in Brussels and Hanover. She loved the experience, whilst meanwhile back at the Stanton Iron Works so as to shake a certain nation, explosive bombs were now being produced.

She made many firm friendships in the WAAF - and these friendships were to continue throughout the next 70 or so years and provide much happiness. Her Christian faith also soared strongly in the WAAF which was to support her throughout the rest of her life.

After the war Alma returned to work in the secretarial pool at Stanton Ironworks, quickly rising to become personal secretary to some of the bosses!

She spoke several times of local pride as Trowell was selected to be Festival Village in 1951.

Alma met her husband-to-be at Stanton and she and Derrick married December 1956 in Ilkeston.

Alma devoted the next 20 years to family life binging up 3 sons. She later returned to work as a Medical Secretary /PA for private doctor practices in the Nottingham & Derby area.

Her dad had been a local Methodist lay-preacher – and Alma keenly followed in his footsteps speaking as often as she could in her spare time at women’s meetings in local churches.

Alma’s parents, her husband Derrick, and one of her son’s, Martin, are interred in St Helen’s Churchyard and from the early 1960s Alma and family members as available would visit regularly to tend the graves.

She was very content to know that her mortal remains would rest here – but had a ‘blessed assurance’ that there was more too!

In 2011 Alma, now in her early nineties, became unable to care for herself due to dementia and she moved into the Firs Care Home in Breaston where she spent her last 8 years. She experienced care and attention – and love - from the amazing staff who work there. Mum was always relaxed and content throughout her stay and we owe the staff a huge debt of gratitude.

We will always remember Alma for her love, her patience, her care and support to all who sought her assistance.

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