Land girl Freida tells her story to students

Pupils explored a living link to history as they spoke to a member of the Land Army at the Spring Cafe.

Friday, 12th October 2018, 12:14 pm
Updated Friday, 12th October 2018, 1:18 pm
Historic: Freida shared her story with six pupils from the school.

Freida Williams, 98, spoke to six pupils from St. Thomas A Becket’s Catholic School about her experience as a member of the Land Army, the Second World War Two organisation which saw woman take on agricultural work that would traditionally have been done by men.

After the workshop, part of the Forgotten Women of Wakefield project, which honours the lost histories of the city’s women, the pupils created short dramatic readings which they performed to their classmates.

Cathy Baxendale, the school’s headteacher, said: “This project is inspiring our students and emboldening their voices to speak out about the importance of honouring stories from women in our community.”

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Land girl: Freida Wiliams was a member of the Land Army in WW2

Freida, of Walton, had a difficult upbringing. Her father had been gassed during the First World War and was unable to work, leaving her family to survive on his pension alone.

At the outbreak of war, Freida joined the Land Army and was sent to work in Wales, where she recalled that she had her own bedroom for the first time.

The Land Army was hard, physical work, and the Land Girls, as they were so called, were given only one week of paid holiday each year.

Despite this, Freida carried on in her post for until the end of the war, before she married and relocated to Walton.

Sarah Cobham, CEO of Dream Time Creative, the arts company behind the Forgotten Women of Wakefield project, says that the dramatic pieces saw Freida’s story shared with more than 300 pupils.

“We are absolutely delighted that the pupils are embracing this project,” she said.

“Our aim is to engage as many different people as possible, with a view to honouring the stories of living women.”