Sleafordian of the Year 2017 dies aged 93

Sleafordian of the Year 2017, Winifred Sibley, has died. EMN-190801-153654001
Sleafordian of the Year 2017, Winifred Sibley, has died. EMN-190801-153654001

Former Sleafordian of the Year, Winifred Sibley, has died aged 93.

A retired headteacher, she was recognised in the Sleaford Town Awards in 2017 for her contribution to the local community and music.

She died peacefully at home in London Road, Sleaford, where she had lived for 50 years.

Born in Portsmouth where her father was based with the Navy, she was eldest of four, but soon moved to Dorrington where she attended the village school and Sleaford High School before training to become a teacher at Bingley College.

She taught around Nottingham and started music lessons before returning to Dorrington in 1949 where she would bike the seven miles to Metheringham to teach classes of 40 pupils.

She belonged to Ruskington Choral Society and Sleaford Ladiesd Hockey Club where she played in goal.

Buying her first car she used to recall learning how to de-coke the engine of the Morris 8 and so on.

She also spent a lot of time at her aunt’s farm in Rauceby driving tractors, mending machinery, caring for the animals, which she loved. She kept goats and always had dogs.

She then looked for someone to teach her music to achieve her grade 8 in piano and grade 6 in singing , which led to her marrying her late husband Eric in 1954.

She then led the choir at Dorrington as well as being involved in her husband’s choir at St Denys’.

Aged 27, Mrs Sibley became the youngest headteacher in the county at Dorrington School.

She and her husband set up home in West Banks and had two daughters – Alison and Liz – before moving to London Road in 1969.

When women joined the choir she made 20 chorister robes and supported the choir, organising and joining in social events as well as offering pastoral care for junior members.

In her fifties she studied for a Bachelor of Education degree at Nottingham University before retiring in 1980 when Dorrington School closed.

In 1996 Mrs Sibley was invited to St James’ Palace to meet the Queen in connection with the Royal School of Church Music in Lincolnshire.

She was a member of Peterborough Organists, Grantham Twinning, the Civic Trust, Secretary of the League of Friends of Rauceby Hospital and went back to study the organ with Graham Patman in her eighties.

Her other talents included pottery, stained glass, sewing, gardening and cooking. She joined the Quarrington church choir before becoming organist at Silk Willoughby church until she was nearly 90.

She leaves daughters Alison and Liz, brother Frank, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

There will be a service of thanksgiving at St Denys’ Church, Sleaford on January 12 at 11.30am.