Article provided courtesy of John Robinson, Canada, 27th January 2018

Peggy Bolland was born in Gateshead in 1928, one of 5 children but the last to survive. She had a loving and happy childhood but not easy, living in a tiny 2 bedroomed Tyneside flat, with outside lavatory down the back stone steps in the yard, which her father, who was an invalid most of his life, negotiated on his crutches without complaint. I’m sure this is where Peggy’s positivity and caring outlook on life began.

When the war began Peggy, along with her brothers and sister: Maud, Billy and Wilf, were evacuated to Askrigg, in the Yorkshire Dales. Baby Eva stayed at home with her parents. Unfortunately they could not all be billeted together and this proved to be very stressful for Maud who soon returned to Gateshead. The boys lasted a little longer but Peggy grew to love the countryside and the kind family who looked after her and soon made new lifelong friends. She stayed on for most of the war years, with fairly regular visits from her family. Her love of nature and the environment began here, helping on the farm, delivering milk, swimming in the river and being part of village life.

Although always successful at school, she left after the war when she returned to Gateshead to take a variety of unskilled jobs in order to help support her family. One of these was working for a tailor, where her seamstress skills were much used later in her life making her own and her children’s clothes and eventually teaching some needlework classes later at Durham Technical College. She found a better paying job in a tobacco factory making cigarettes, where she advanced and worked on quality control until she was married.

It was around 1950 when she met Billy Robinson at the Oxford Galleries Tea Dance in Newcastle. They both loved dancing and soon met up regularly. He was a student studying electrical engineering at King’s College, Newcastle (then a part of Durham University). They had  some very adventurous times courting, often whizzing off to the Lake District and to the wilds of N.W. Scotland on his Norton motorbike, staying in youth hostels. A common love of nature, adventure and open countryside stayed with them forever. Billy graduated from the University and found a job doing research in Bishop Auckland,

They were married in June 1953, moved to West Auckland where their children Anne and Eric were born in 1954 and 1956. Soon after that, Billy’s work took them to Beckenham, Kent for a short while. They found that urban life was not for them. In 1958 Billy started to work for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority at Dounreay on their D.F.R. nuclear project. They left their urban life and went to the other extreme, moving to the north coast of Scotland, living firstly in Strathy, then Thurso.  When Billy’s mother died in 1963, they decided to re-locate to Trimdon, moving into her house on Cleveland Ave., where Billy’s youngest brother Paul was now living on his own. Billy got a job with the North Eastern Electricity Board in their electrical research facility.

The move back to Trimdon was their final move, when Paul married, they moved into a newer council house on Swainby Road, after a few years they bought their own home, “Byefields”, on Horsefield Road, across from the Parochial School.

Peggy lived in Trimdon for 53 years and in that time had become a much loved and extremely active member of the community: the church, the village hall, the library, craft and chat, curling and more. Never one to sit back and let things happen she has always been outward going, pro-active and never happier than doing something to help others. When the people of Trimdon put her name forward for an MBE, in 2010, to mark her great contribution to the community for over 50 years, she couldn’t believe it. Her enthusiasm, passion and drive came from her heart and her love of others, for which she felt no reward was needed. It was with great pride that she received it but always said it was “on behalf of Trimdon and the people who lived there.”

The following articles appeared in “The Northern Echo” and The Hartlepool Mail” October/November 2008:


Villagers prove to be close-knit community

8:25am Thursday 9th October 2008 

VILLAGERS turned out in force to support an annual sponsored knitting event which has been taking place for the past 26 years.
Every year, Trimdon Village residents, in County Durham, spend two hours knitting in aid of The Children’s Society.
The event is held in Tremeduna Grange, a sheltered housing complex. Many of the residents went along to support the event.
Each of the participants knitted a small strip, which are joined together to make knee rugs and sold in The Children’s Society shop.
Organiser Margaret Robinson, secretary of the local branch of The Children’s Society, said they had raised about £500.
“We had about 20 people come along, which is a lot for a small village like ours and we are very grateful for those who attended,” said Mrs. Robinson.


Published Date: 03 November 2008 – Hartlepool Mail 

GENEROUS knitters had a purl of an idea to raise funds for a children’s charity.

A sponsored knitting and coffee morning held at Tremeduna Grange sheltered accommodation complex, in Trimdon Village, also marked a milestone event for the cause’s branch secretary.
Twenty people took part in a non-stop two-hour knit-athon to raise around £500 for The Children’s Society in aid of disadvantaged youngsters.
The event, in its 26th year, also marked the retirement of Margaret Robinson, who stepped down at the age of 80 after 43 years as local organiser and secretary of the society.
Mrs. Robinson, a mother-of-two and grandmother-of-five, said what she had loved about her role was “meeting people, making friends and the generosity of people”.
She added: “I must stress the kindness and the generosity of people in Trimdon Village,” she added.
Mrs. Robinson said her involvement with the charity began when local vicar, Canon Stanley Landreth, told her: “I’ve got a nice little job for you.”
She estimated that locals had helped to raise around £30,000 for the cause during her time as charity secretary and she paid tribute to Eileen Wilkinson, who had the original idea of the knit-athon.
Suzanne Hopper has taken over Mrs. Robinson’s role.

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