Betty Parle
Name: Betty Parle
Description: Betty Parle
Location: NowThen
Contributor: Betty Parle
Rights: Contact WYAS
Betty moved to England in 1948 because her husband was English. He was in the Irish Guard and stationed over in Ireland.
Welsey Street down to Elland Road
Name: Welsey Street down to Elland Road
Description: Welsey Street down to Elland Road
Location: NowThen
Contributor: West Yorkshire Archive Service
Rights: West Yorkshire Archive Service

Betty moved to England in 1948 because her husband was English. He was in the Irish Guard and stationed over in Ireland. When he moved back and was demobbed they got married. They lived all over Leeds moving from Harehills to Headingley and finally to Beeston. She’s lived in the same house on Heath Road for the past 23 years and likes it as she has good neighbours on either side.

“Beeston’s got a bit of a reputation now, but it used to be all homeliness and neighbourliness and friendliness.”

Betty isn’t bothered by how close she lives to Elland Road as she’s a season ticket holder. She used to have a bungalow right opposite the scratching shed as they used to call the ground before the new bits of the stadium were built. She was so close that sometimes during games the football would come over into their garden.

Betty spent a lot of her time in Beeston working with handicapped children at the Dewsbury Road Day Centre. They used to go round and pick the children up in a bus and bring them into the day centre. She still works at St Mary’s School helping at dinnertime. She also volunteered at Jimmy’s until she was 81.

“I miss it, I really miss it. I miss the company and meeting different people. Some of the patients used to apologise as they weren’t able to do things anymore and some of them were much younger than me.”

Betty has only been coming to the Irish Centre Tuesday Club for a year and half as she was still working at Jimmy’s. Her husband used to play in the band so she knew most of the people already. “It’s just a really friendly place.”

Betty is still very active and goes to keep fit every week, chair exercises though she hastens to point out.
“It’s a laugh a minute. It keeps me young.”

She remembers the friendliness when she moved to Beeston. People used to leave their doors open if they popped down the shops, but that doesn’t really happen anymore. She used to stay at home and look after the kiddies. “Those were the best days, when they were little.” She used to save up to buy the things that she really wanted and reckons that she got more pleasure out of them because she’d had to work hard and wait to get them. “If you couldn’t afford something then you went without.”

When the Leeds Irish Centre opened in 1970, it provided more entertainment and a central meeting place for the large Irish community in Leeds. Before the centre opened Betty remembers going to St Francis Hall in Holbeck every Saturday for dances. It was all Irish music with big bands from Ireland coming over to play. It was mostly used by the Irish folk of the area but other communities, especially the Jewish community, used to come along as well. “It was definitely the place to go in Beeston.” There wasn’t much else to do in Beeston, just shops. “The Co-Op was there, but it was much smaller back then.”