Pauline Bowler has been closely involved with the parish and community of Lydiard Tregoze all her life, spending her early years in the newly converted Lydiard Park Camp. A clever needlewoman, Pauline’s fine crochet panel bearing the Lord’s Prayer hangs in St. Mary’s Church. During Coronavirus lock-down many people are displaying rainbows in their front windows – Pauline’s is beautifully crocheted! Here she tells us her family story:
‘Mum and Dad were married at St. Mary’s Church Lydiard Tregoze on January 4th 1947 and lived at No. 8A Lydiard Park (in the converted military camp). I was born in 1956 and baptised in January 1957 at St. Mary’s. I don’t remember living in the Park for the first four years of my life until moving to The Moors in Lydiard Millicent in 1960 where I still live.
In the summer on Sundays we walked over the fields to the church following the footpaths; one week it was morning service then evening service the next. Winter months we walked round the roads to get to church until Dad bought a small car.
Mum was a member of the Mothers Union and helped with all the refreshments needed that the Mothers Union supplied over the years. Her teabread and shortbread went down very well. Mum also helped out at the fete and gymkhana every year. Dad was on the committee so was outside making sure everything ran to time. On one side of the field you had the horses jumps and on the other a big marquee for the flowers, vegetables and cookery classes. First prize in the skittles match was always a real pig. As children we always headed that direction. There were also donkey’s – that’s where my love of donkeys came from.
Knitting and sewing is something I first learnt from my mum. If it hadn’t been for wartime I think she’d like to have been a needlework teacher. But crochet was something I learned at Wootton Bassett School when I was sixteen and staying on to take my ‘O’ level exams. I’ve been crocheting ever since. In 2000 my ‘Lord’s Prayer’ panel was dedicated at St. Mary’s. It took me two years to make and many people mistake it for lacework because it is such fine cotton.
Last year when the church had all the scaffolding up a group of us at church had to think quickly as to how we could cover the poles over for weddings. Pat (Church Warden Pat Watson) supplied us with the curtains which I spent time joining together to make a canopy, which we put up to cover the top of the scaffolding, then flowers across the poles. It took a team of six of us to put it up and take it down between weddings, although we left it up when we had quite a few weddings in July and August (2020) as some of the team were away on holiday. It was a talking point when people came into church.
I am now the Verger at the church, and also cleaner. I help out as a steward on church open days in September. I also help with refreshments when needed, making cakes and scones.’
You will be able to see Pauline’s fine crochet panel in St. Mary’s Church when the conservation works are completed and normal visiting resumes.