Local Face: Sheila Bulpett

I was born at home in Hillingdon 62 years ago, the second daughter in the family. Our parents were both scientific and as such we had an interesting upbringing. Ex-RAF wireless operator Dad was given broken radios, TVs etc and we learnt to solder so that we could help with the fiddly bits. Sundays often involved heading off to help him with various activities, including under the stage of the new Ickenham theatre, pulling cables for the lighting as we were small enough to run about down there. My father gave each of us a camera and we would develop black and white photographs in the shed.

At 18 I was the first in the family to go to university. I studied Chemistry at Somerville, Oxford, a subject I found exciting as it never did what it was supposed to, unlike physics. A whole different world where practical classes meant you often couldn’t see across the lab for smoke and you could emerge at the end of the day somewhat befuddled from the fumes and have to push the bike home. I also gained a rowing blade. During the vacations I used my photographic skills in a laboratory at Brunel University and met my future husband, Bob.

We married in 1981 and lived in Aylesbury with Bob’s daughter Melanie. I had a research post and worked on phosphor development. Twins arrived in 1984, identical boys and difficult to tell which was which so I left their labels on for the first 2 weeks! Then we moved to Wendover, where Bob had grown up, and really settled in to village life. Welcoming and friendly, it is a great place to be. Jennifer followed in 1986 and we fell in to the usual round of activities.

I was part of the National Childbirth Trust and the local Twins Club, gaining and giving support to other families. Gardening and the allotment have been a lifelong interest for the exercise, produce and in modern terms, the low carbon lifestyle. In 1992 I trained to become a Chemistry and Science Teacher, which I continued for 20 years. Teaching mainly teenagers is an interesting experience, especially when most want to burn things in the labs! The most rewarding part was the excitement in their eyes and seeing them develop into responsible and confident individuals. My time as a Head of Year in the Sixth Form was a highlight.

Sheila and some of the Neighbourhood Plan team

In 2012, I was fortunate to be able to retire and focus on other interests including travelling, painting and music. U3A, has given me new friends and improved some skills, eg ballroom dancing.

Throughout my life I have been a volunteer including as a lifeguard at Wendover Pool, helper at the first school then school governor, NCT counsellor, officer of different societies, a Parish Councillor and now Chair.