Cllr. Mrs. J. Dickinson
- 19 Daybell Close,
- 0116 278 5580
I was born in Leicester, in Old Aylestone and attended Wyggeston Girls' Grammar School.
When I left school, I worked with the fore-runners of computers. I'd always wanted to be a nurse but my father wouldn't hear of it. I married and continued to live in Aylestone – our first son was christened at St Andrews Church - until my husband took a job in Somerset. We then lived in Wiltshire, where our two sons were brought up. I finally trained as a nurse in Wiltshire, working in the Bath area.
My husband died in 1982. My elder son had gone to Leicester University and had stayed in Leicester. My other son had gone into the army as a boy soldier and though I'd been living in Wilshire for 20 years and was happy, the family felt I shouldn't be down there on my own.
Eventually, a friend who lived in Leicester, asked me if I wanted to run a pub! So I did. The pub, The Royal Mail, was in the city centre. I stayed there for three years and left because Royal Mail wanted to buy it. The pub had a huge car park and stood between 'Letters' and 'Parcels'. It was a big piece of real estate.
I owned a house in Whetstone, in which my elder son and wife lived. When they moved out in 1991 to buy their own home, I moved in and have lived there ever since. After doing everything I wanted to do in the house and garden, I was bored and needed something to do. A friend, who owned what was then Time Out in Blaby, offered me a couple of evenings' work in the front bar.
I did this for quite a while and was even contemplating going into hotel management but my friend sold up. In the meantime, my daughter-in-law, who worked at Vodaphone, said, "They need an operator." So that's where I went next, staying until 2000 when the firm relocated. I didn't want to move and took redundancy instead. I was unemployed again.
It was Anna Pullen who 'persuaded' me to stand for Blaby District Council. She knew I'd plenty of spare time and said, "You'll only have to attend a meeting every now and again." I learned to know Enderby by walking round it, delivering leaflets and talking to delightful people.
I was elected in May 1999 and things changed when the Cabinet system was adopted. In November I was offered the Cabinet Post for Housing and that's when things began to get very busy indeed.
Shortly after being elected to the District, I joined Enderby Parish Council as a co-opted member and ten years ago I was also elected to the Leicestershire County Council. History repeated itself in that I didn't realise what I was taking on. Mid-campaign the government moved the boundaries and the division to which I was elected grew; and Thorpe Astley just continues to grow. The division is now the largest, by population, in the County (10,200 in 2001). It's a very diverse division and it involves a great deal of walking.
When I'm not working with one Council or another I like to garden, walk the dog or read. In the winter I also like to knit and do cross-stitch and tapestry.
I've been on the Parish Council a long time and have seen many changes. There are younger people on the Council now, who naturally have more radical ideas. This is a good thing.
I'm often asked why I represent Enderby, considering that I live in Whetstone? It's not as though I live in Outer Mongolia! I live three minutes' drive from Enderby, providing there's no hold-up at the Foxhunter Roundabout. In fact, as the crow flies, I live nearer to the centre of Enderby than those people who live on the far side of The Pastures. I've often thought, if I didn't live in Whetstone, I'd like to live in Enderby.
There is no land left on which Enderby can grow and I think because of this the village will retain its identity, which only smaller communities can do. It can grow as strong as it used to be but we need to encourage people to become involved in village activities; activities such as the fête which bring people together. With a tight-knit community we can face problems as there is expertise out there that can be used to produce solutions.