Gillian (Jill) Rosemary Shenton (nee Salisbury)
August 7 1944 – July 8 2022
Jill was the only child of RAF Sgt William (Bill) Arthur Salisbury and Joan Salisbury, nee Briggs.
When Jill was barely 8 months old her father, the Flight Engineer on a RCAF Lancaster left Croft in Yorkshire on the Crew’s first ever mission
In the early hours of the 8th March 1945 the aircraft was attacked by a German Night Fighter and crashed into the hillside above the village of Oberweidbach in Hesse, with the loss of all the crew.
Without a father she had never known she still enjoyed a happy childhood surrounded by a close family.
Her teenage ambition was always to be a hairdresser and after leaving school trained for her future, early career.
She was a very talented hairdresser and before she was 19 years of age had her own Salon.
At this time she met Tony and they were subsequently married by the Revd Michael Cooke at the new Blurton Methodist Church on 13th March 1965. Theirs was, in fact, the first wedding to be held at the Church.
Some 4 years later, in 1969 saw the arrival of their elder daughter Claire and the end of her hairdressing career. Jill and Tony were further blessed with the arrival of their younger daughter Kirsty in 1971
Jill had always been very talented with her hands, knitting, crocheting and sewing and was soon knitting and sewing for 2 growing daughters and very soon for others as well.
She had a great interest in fabrics and design and as the children grew and became less dependent on her she learned upholstery. Her sewing and new found upholstery skills led to an entirely new and successful career in Interior design and she worked nationally for a wide and varied number of both commercial and private clients. In all of these undertakings she always remained very “hands on” spending hours sat at a sewing machine or busily hammering in tacks.
Apart from her “indoor” activities Jill was also a very keen gardener and created new gardens from scratch at various properties that the family occupied.
Jill was immensely proud of the fact that her 2 fledglings both gained their First and Masters Degrees.
Jill also took great delight in welcoming Kirsty’s husband Matt into the family. She was even more delighted as they presented her with three beautiful grandchildren, Mieke, Hattie and Ned
A keen traveller, over the years, Jill managed to visit nearly all of the European Countries and both the West and East coasts of America.
Once the fledglings had left Jill became more inquisitive regarding the fate of her father. As a first step Jill and Tony, accompanied by two dear, long standing friends, visited the CWGC Cemetery in Hannover, the final resting place of the crew of Lancaster KB 858.
Clearly this was a trip tinged with great sadness but was compensated for by Jill’s great love of travel and incorporated visits to Berlin, Krakow, Auschwitz, Prague, Budapest and Vienna.
Jill lost her mother in early 2010 and it was a chance remark at the Funeral that led to a real breakthrough in knowledge of her father’s death. A book published in Canada shed a lot of light on the subject.
As a result Jill and Tony again headed for Germany and with the unstinting help of villagers in Oberweidbach and a young German who had spent many years researching the fate of both German and Allied aircraft. Jill was able to visit the actual crash site and it was possible to still find remains of the aircraft.
The Canadian book was also able to put Jill in touch with Lynda Hall a niece of one of the crew that was a particular friend of her fathers.
In 2019 Jill and Tony met Lynda and her husband Darryl at Frankfurt Airport and were able to take them to the CWGC Cemetery, Hannover and on to Oberweidbach
From 2011 until Covid put an end to such things, Jill and Tony were able to enjoy long summers at their old farmhouse in France and as ever Jill made new friends and was always ready to welcome all and everyone that wished to visit.
Jill was a member and a former President of Hales W. I. where she made many friends.
For a considerable time she produced a Monthly Newsletter for the Members at Hales, many of her peers will no doubt remember that she was constantly badgering them for items of news and interesting articles from recipes to travel experiences. She was eventually asked to produce the County Newsletter. She was also for a period of time the County Press Secretary
Jill was a devoted wife to Tony for almost 60 years. She was a devoted Mum to Claire and Kirsty and a surrogate Mum to so many more.
Jill was a loyal friend to so many and always gave her time with a smile, a big welcome and many a cup of tea.