Glenys's story

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Glenys Lewis recalled some interesting tales from her time as the picture editor of the Derby Evening Telegraph.

Glenys started work in July 1960 at the tender age of 16 with the Derby Evening Telegraph as Picture Editor’s Assistant. It had been her childhood dream to work for a newspaper. Here Glenys recalls her memories of working for the Derby Evening Telegraph.

“I was terribly shy when I was young. I used to run away from a ringing telephone in the office at work for quite some time, but then someone twigged on to it and made me answer it! 

“To become more confident and overcome my shyness, I took a job as a barmaid at nights, working in a local pub, The Green Dragon, which unfortunately now no longer stands."

In December 1960, Glenys’ shyness was put to the test. Her boss came up with the idea of having a front page for the Friday night picture edition, of a large Christmas Tree with someone appearing to be sitting on the top of it, and that someone just happened to be Glenys!

To prepare for the part her mother, who was a dressmaker, made her a beautiful purple taffeta dress with about three or four petticoats underneath made from paper nylon. Glenys' mother worked from home and helped make uniforms for the soldiers during the war years.  She also used to make wedding dresses including one for a famous lady, Brenda Mee, who was Miss Great Britain 1953.

Glenys said: “Wearing my mother’s necklace with my costume, I felt I looked very smart. I had to walk from the Telegraph offices to the Odeon Cinema, where the photoshoot was to take place, dressed in my outfit and high heels. It was the middle of winter and very cold. I got plenty of attention from passers-by during that long walk!

“When I arrived in the foyer of the Cinema, I was asked to get up a ladder into position. The photographer started taking pictures of me and I had to keep very still. The large Christmas tree was set in the foyer and at one point, I remember two old ladies coming out of the cinema and screaming at me as I moved slightly. They thought I was a waxwork model. I thought they were going to pass out with the shock!

“The picture went out on Friday 23 December 1960. I got ribbed instantly at the newspaper and was whistled at as I walked through the offices and press room.  The front page was plastered everywhere and I became a “pin-up” girl overnight. It was the first time the newspaper had ever done anything like this.

Glenys web 2.jpg“During my time at the Derby Evening Telegraph, I got to meet many famous people including popstars, by persuading the photographer and reporter to let me and my friend accompany them. I especially recall meeting Adam Faith in 1962 and had my photograph taken with him which he signed for me. I also met with Cliff Richard, Hank Marvin & The Shadows, Billy Fury, John Barry 7 and Joe Brown.

“I went on to become a newspaper librarian and eventually worked with The Shropshire Star. I was sent to Fleet Street for a few weeks to see how other newspapers started up their libraries and was put up in a very posh London hotel. I was 20 years of age and had never been to the City before. When I got off the train, I panicked as I stood outside the station. A taxi driver saw me and said “Do you need to go somewhere? You look lost”. I got in and he kindly took me all over London for a sight-seeing trip.

“I remember my arrivals for the interview and the hotel very clearly. I fell upstairs at both locations. The most embarrassing one being at the hotel as my case flew open and all my clothes fell out.”