A truly inspirational woman

Betty Smalley - 2010 opening of the Ripples project, Firth Park with Lord Mayor, Sylvia Dunkley and other Friends of Firth Park.
Betty Smalley - 2010 opening of the Ripples project, Firth Park with Lord Mayor, Sylvia Dunkley and other Friends of Firth Park.

Story by Jackie Drayton

I first met Betty when I moved to Burngreave and joined Grimesthorpe Anti Nuclear Group (established to counter the nuclear threat!) And in 1982 we visited Greenham Common together to support the campaigning women and I’ve had the honour to be her friend ever since. With her wonderful sense of humour mingled with a broad knowledge of politics and world affairs, Betty was committed to campaigning and improving her community.

In 2007 when Betty was awarded the Lord Mayor’s Women of Inspiration, ‘Outstanding Woman of the Year’ typically she said, ‘I can’t see how I’ve been an inspiration to anyone – There are other people who are real heroines’. Says the founder member of the Friends of Firth Park and Save the Clock Tower Campaign, volunteer at SAVTE, local treasurer for Amnesty International, Trustee of Green City Action, former Governor of local schools, member of the Friends of Burngreave Cemetery Chapel, supporter of Abbeyfield and Firth Park festivals, running the famous Betty’s Tea Tent and producing her legendary chocolate cake!

When asked at the time, what message she’d like to pass on as inspiration to others, she said:

“I’d like people to know how powerful community can be when it gets together. And I’d like people to respect each other, not just on the level of between different races but between individuals too.”

To me Betty was a truly inspirational woman and a fantastic community activist – she did make a difference! She was a wonderful friend and I will miss her kindness, support and lovely smile.