Wartime letters inspire biography

Margaret Sheard has written a book about her aunt's war letters. (D531F413)
Margaret Sheard has written a book about her aunt's war letters. (D531F413)

An emotional task sifting through the effects of an aunt sparked a literary labour of love.

While clearing her late aunt’s flat, Margaret Sheard found a cache of old letters dating from 1943. Put together, they charted the life and times of Kathleen Mary Sheard, from Roberttown.

And now Margaret has written a book, Kay, in tribute to the aunt who became an MBE through her work for the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service.

The letters brought to life Kay’s eventful war years working for the WRVS. Margaret said: “She did so much in what was a man’s world. She served tea and buns to troops behind the lines with a canteen strapped to a donkey!”

Kay’s parents moved to Roberttown with their two daughters, Kay and Margaret’s mother Marguerite, after leaving Huddersfield. Marguerite married church organist Jack Scholefield-Nicholson and they moved to Gomersal.

Kay answered a YMCA radio appeal to provide help to British troops in Europe.

Margaret said: “She later joined the WRVS, got her MBE and retired to Winchester.”

Kay died in 2012, and Mrs Sheard – wife of Kirklees council leader David Sheard – found her letters while clearing her flat.

She said: “I found all her correspondence and when I put them together it was the story of her life.

“I scattered some of her ashes in the grounds of Roberttown church on what would have been her 95th birthday.

Mrs Sheard, who lives in Liversedge, is donating a copy of the book, copies of the letters and photos to the WRVS. She said: “The book was very emotional – but rewarding – to write.” Visit www.blurb.co.uk.