Glossop woman's treasure returned

Report by Pamela Sweeney
A woman from Glossop has been reunited with a precious family heirloom feared lost after she accidentally dropped it into a charity collection tin. Lillian Barnsley (72) spoke of her relief today on receiving the news that her late brother’s treasured WW2 identity disc had been found in the seventh of eight collection buckets belonging

to the military charity Forces Support.

“I was using a different purse that day and when I was coming out of the supermarket I emptied all the change I had into the collection tin. As soon as I had dropped the coins I realised what I’d done, as my new purse didn’t have the middle section that I’d always kept the disc in,” explained Mrs Barnes.
Retired factory worker Lillian recalled childhood days spent with her brother Kenneth, who died tragically of complications from meningitis at the age of ten.
“He was always known as ‘the smiler’ by his teachers at school. He was such a lovely caring boy who loved animals. He loved fishing and he kept chickens in our back yard. One of my abiding memories is of Kenneth being told by Mother to pull his socks up as he set off each day to school. She would call out to him as he walked down the road.”
Lillian explained the significance of the World War Two identity disc.

“My mother didn’t want Kenneth to be evacuated so my dad had the disc made for him with his name and address engraved on it. Mum was profoundly deaf and it would always be Kenneth who’d hear the air raid and shout ‘Mum, they’re coming over’ and they’d get under the kitchen table.”
Mrs Barnes talked about the tragic nature of Kenneth’s illness.
“While out fishing one day at the local stream Kenneth was attacked by a youth and he went on to develop meningitis. He went blind before he died. My mother took it very badly and she never really got over it. It was another hard blow after having lost her first-born son, Maurice, to pneumonia. Maurice had been named after my dad and sadly he only lived nine days. It was eight long years before Kenneth came along.”
Lillian remarked, “I often sit and think what Kenneth would be like growing up. My brother David and I still talk about him often.”
The disc has now been returned to Lillian’s home in Glossop, Derbyshire, where it now has pride of place in Mrs Barnes’ jewellery box. “It is simply wonderful to have it back as I promised my mother I would always take care of it.”      

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