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The town with a heart

A beautiful homage from an S41 resident

I have now reached my seventy second year, have had nineteen moves – including down south for 7 years and eight years abroad. Through various events and circumstances, I have arrived back to the same house that I moved into as a six-year-old in 1952! I’ve ‘been all the way around the mountain and back’ so to speak.

This town, Chesterfield, holds so many dear memories for me. From making plays on the back garden to getting married and giving birth to my son, Shaun. It always manages to retain its warmth and charm, and the ‘Northern souls’ with their cordial greeting of “Aup-up mi duck” make you feel right back at home irrespective of your time spent away.

I neighboured the crooked spire in the 80’s, as tenant of the White Swan Hotel – or ‘mucky duck’ as the regulars would call it (now Pig+Pump). A genuinely wonderful place to live; It was so special to be able to look directly down the main high street, from the front bedroom window and catch a glimpse of the daily hustle and bustle.

My Husband was a local labour councillor for ten years during the seventies, holding a position on the planning committee. He had a large input in fighting to keep the heart of the town centre, for all to respect. He believed it was the heartbeat and axis of history and many special events, too noteworthy to fizzle out.

This town holds a quality of showing friendliness and kindness. I can say this with confidence and from the experience that I have had over the years, encountering many different walks of life in many different places.

I feel somewhat sad in seeing the slow decline of the marketplace, as it was once the hub of the town centre. I still hear the ghostly sounds of the market traders shouting out to grab your attention; especially Don on Eyre’s stall bellowing “Three fer a pahnd”.

We have the most beautiful and unique church one could have in a town. It has helped me on many occasions from lighting a candle and praying for strength, to the business it brought into the White Swan from tourists; Something I hope it continues to do.

This town offers everything for all. We are all important and treated according to our individual needs, in all areas. I know because I have witnessed this first-hand since returning from Tenerife in 2001.

I was given faultless support after my dear mum suffered a stroke. This was through both day nurse’s courtesy of the NHS and Tontine day centre; a brilliant place ran by fantastic individuals volunteering their time.

During this time my sister, who is profoundly disabled, had to be placed in a nursing home as my mum who had been her carer up until then physically couldn’t any longer. Fortunately, she was placed in Amberly Nursing Home, which must be one of the most fabulous places you could wish for; care-home or not! She has been a resident there for 12 years now and is loved and extremely happy. The staff there are true diamonds and run a well-maintained, superb network of care.

My local doctors at Windermere surgery, Newbold is the best one could ever be blessed with. The staff are true stars; friendly, efficient, and extremely professional. They also offer a citizen’s advice service once a week, where David and Sue have been fantastic helping me on numerous occasions.

We also have the remarkable Ashgate hospice where I was lucky enough to be a volunteer for eight years. The love and support and nursing care is so very, very special. It was a privilege to help there and a time that I will always respect and hold dear to my heart.

Further along the road from Ashgate hospice, one begins to step into the beautiful countryside and the awe-inspiring peak district. The spectacular views are breath-taking; nature displayed at its best, and medicine for the mind, body, and spirit. We are lucky to have this on our doorstep, as well as the transport links that allow us to get, not only there, but anywhere up and down the country.

Our local library service is worthy of mention too, for its time spent helping me with free computer sessions; allowing me to type this article up myself!

To briefly mention some other places, we are blessed with:

Queens Park Gym: A referral by your doctors’ surgery will help you shed pounds and offer a twelve-week course on better understanding the importance of healthy eating, again for free.

The Royal Hospital: Not only the Devonshire Ward where I stayed, but also the Cancer, Stroke, and Alcohol units for various other times of need. I dread to think what my bill would be if I living in the USA!

The Co-op funeral services: They were absolute angels to my family and I, when my son passed away in 2014. They handled the situation with great dignity, care, and compassion.

Despite the general zeitgeist, Chesterfield IS a good town indeed. There are so many charitable organisations that we should feel immensely proud to be able to support and reach out too, whatever the reason. It is a stunning market town with a remarkable history and so many things to offer.

I now ‘sit near the front row’ having reached my seventh decade, having witnessed change for both better and worse.

I realise and appreciate my good fortune to be residing in a town that very much cares for its residents – true, down-to-earth Cestrefeldians , living in a heartfelt township which sits proudly at the heart of England.

So from my own ‘Northern Lass’ heart I felt a duty to give praise and thanks to one and all, and thank God that he eventually brought me home to my roots and my beginning where I know that the people around me will do their best for me through my final years!


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