Illston on the Hill WI – May 2023

The WI

Illston on the Hill WI welcomed Margaret Hudson to entertain us at our April meeting. Margaret was formerly a Tiller Girl. If you don’t know about Tiller Girls ask your Mum or Granny. Margaret is in her 90s and she arrived as if she were a 50 year old. She looked a million dollars dressed in a fabulous sequinned emerald green jacket and she moved so beautifully.

Margaret Hudson
Margaret Hudson looking a million dollars

Travelling to distant shores

Margaret left school at 14 and confirmed that everything she has learned in life was after leaving school. She went into dancing and obviously proved to be extremely talented. Margaret joined the ‘Tillers’ and never looked back. They travelled near and far. She was told one trip would be to Scandinavia, she had no idea where that was. It could have been mid Wales for all she knew but they went and were a huge success.

They also performing in South Africa and on cruise ships. The minimum height to be a ‘Tiller’ was 5’5. Margaret was taller than this so she was always put at the end of the line. When it came to doing the wheel, she was tearing around on the outside whilst the dancer in the middle was just marking time. Once they were doing a show where they were in the ‘clouds’. They had to make their way down a walkway (tricky). As she was making a turn back into the centre she fell off the board and had to stay there until the end of the scene. Fortunately she was unhurt and in her usual way just laughed it off. Since then she was dubbed ‘the fallen angel’.

Performing to Royalty

Margaret has met so many famous people, too many to mention. One of her highlights was performing at the Royal Command Performance in front of the King. She has now seen two kings and a queen.

Margaret has graced the boards at all the number one theatres in the British Isles and has had some wonderful experiences. She did admit that one of her favourite places nowadays is the end of the pier theatre in Cromer as she just loves variety. Margaret is an amazing person so full of fun that you just want to hug her. A really lovely evening was had by all. Her parting shot was that she was going to her sister’s 90th birthday at the weekend, flying out alone to Australia. What an inspirational woman.

Our meeting ended with really yummy refreshments and we had the opportunity to look through some of Margaret’s photographs.

Jane Shute