Betty Billins - Village People

By Claire Cooper

If you thought only Mary had a little lamb, then you’d be mistaken!

Lindfield’s Bety Billins (nee Willis) clearly remembers taking her pet lamb to school as she enjoyed an idyllic childhood growing up on a village farm.

Now living in Meadow Drive, Betty has a lifetime of Lindfield memories. Fom her fist marriage and bringing up three children to marching down the Mall carrying the Lindfield oyal British Legion Women’s Section Standard, and later falling in love with her very own ’Captain Birds Eye’, life has never been dull!

Betty was born at Tythe Cottage on Walstead Grange Farm where her father was the tenant farmer. “It was a wonderful place to grow up and I had so much freedom,” she recalled.

“It was an arable and dairy farm, although we also had two carthorses (Violet and Dobbin) and a pet sheep! My father also had his own milk round. My mum would walk me to school and our little lamb would come with us!”

The family’s house had no indoor toilet or electricity. “We went to bed with candles and paraffin lamps. Onc when we had so many visitors, my mum slept in the bath!” said Betty. “During the war we took in evacuees, mostly boys. I remember their parents coming to visit and remaining friends long after they went back home.

“I was a great climber, always at the top of a tree where I built my camps. We would pick primroses, tying them into bunches and taking them to elderly people in the village, and would walk in the streams, going as deep as we could before the water reached the top of our wellies!

“I once took my dolly to the pond for a swim. Unfortunately she was made of papier mache and I took her home in pieces.”

This is an extract - full article published in the May 2016 issue of Lindfield Life