‘Des O’Connor used to sing to me during our national service at RAF Brampton’ remembers Sheila

Sheila Hutchens, 87, who now lives in Yaxley, has shared her treasured memories of working with Des at the start of the...

Sheila Hutchens, 87, who now lives in Yaxley, has shared her treasured memories of working with Des at the start of the 1950’s at RAF Brampton. - Credit: Archant

A woman who carried out her national service at the former RAF Brampton barracks, near Huntingdon, says she has fond memories of the time she spent there with Des O’Connor.

The singer and comedian died on November 14 at the age of 88.

Sheila Hutchens, 87, who now lives in Yaxley, has shared her treasured memories of working with Des at the start of the 1950’s at RAF Brampton.

Between 1951 and 1952, Shelia and Des were both carrying out their National Service. Shelia worked as a civilian, handling the accounts and wages in an office in the RAF base and Des worked in the next office to her.

She has treasured memories of Des, who she says always made people smile in the office and he used to sing to them.


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Shelia said: “He was always a cheerful person, who always came in happy to work. He used to come into my office in the morning and tell me he would sing to me if I made him a cup of tea!

“He used to sing lots of songs to us, his favourite one was by Guy Mitchell called ‘There’s Always Room at our House.”

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Shelia recalls the lyrics Des used to sing to her:

‘Dear friends, the next time you find yourself in our locality, try a symbol of our hospitality, there’s always room in our house to share a smile or two.

‘There is always room dear friends for you.’

Shelia also remembers his jokes and says sometimes his antics got him into trouble.

“One day I remember he had all the office members in fits of laughter and our boss came in and said ‘Right O’Connor I should put you on a charge, but I am not going to, instead I want you to join the camp’s talent contest. So Des joined the talent contest and won it.

“In 1951 the camp held a Pantomime of Cinderella and Des played the role of Buttons, which funnily enough was not a leading part, but he was great in it.

Shelia remembers when Des was demobbed in 1952 and left RAF Brampton, he went on to enter a talent contest at Butlins and won, he then became a Redcoat there.

Shelia went on to work at the Peterborough Passport Office for 25 years.

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