Many older Belgrave people will remember Hilda. She had a life-long physical disability and travelled all over the parish in a so called, ‘invalid carriage.’ These forerunners of the mobility scooter were hand powered and enabled the user to develop significant upper-body strength.
Hilda was born in 1917, the daughter of John and Annie Mitchell of Coral Street in Leicester. John worked in the shoe trade while Annie worked as an office cleaner. Hilda’s baptism took place just a month after her birth at St Michael’s church, Belgrave. The 1939 census records her as living with her parents and working as a jack sorter but I think this is a misreading of tack sorter. Hilda certainly worked in the tack shop at the British United Shoe Machinery Company on Belgrave Road throughout the 1960s and until her retirement. In later years, she lived in a flat on Shirley Street in Belgrave.
Hilda was a stalwart, faithful member of St Peter’s church: her life centred around the church and its activities. It was recently shared with me by a life-long Christian that he could trace his coming to faith back to Hilda regularly pushing a copy of the church magazine through his parents’ front door. Hilda was a cheerful, friendly character who faced her physical adversity with a strong resolve to get
on and live life as fully as she could. She always had an encouraging word for the young and was appreciative of those who helped her in any way. Hilda died in 1993 and her funeral took place at St Peter’s.