Kings, knaves, landowners or labourers?

This month in the Be Well Blog, we hear from Be Well Quizzer and heritage researcher Sue Featherston about her quest to learn more about her mysterious great-grandmother.

This post is adapted from the article Sue wrote for us in this month’s Bugle. You can read the full article and all the other great content from the March 2021 edition here.

A photo of Sue Featherston, a blonde woman with glasses, smiling
Sue first got interested in genealogy because of her great-grandmother's exotic name

Sue was intially captivated by her great-grandmother’s name, Elvina Sarah Le Boutillier, French, exotic and fascinating? She had to know more. 

My quest to learn about Elvina began in the Eighties. Pre-internet, this meant squinting at microfilm in the library photographing gravestones, capturing details, dates and family relationships. Slowly my family history took shape, like a giant jigsaw. 

Forty years on, the family tree spans centuries. Elvina’s forebears lived on Sark at the behest of Elizabeth I, defending the island against the French; they were given land as a reward.  My 10-times great grandfather Robert Sloley was the first Judge of Sark, where his house can still be found.  

Not French, Elvina was ‘Jersiaise’. Not exotic, she was from a farming and sea-faring family. Fascinating she remains. How, and why, did she travel to grimy, Victorian Manchester. How did she meet and marry Joe?  

You can now do armchair research 24/7, and it won’t take 40 years! There are free-to-use websites, and organisations like Ancestry and Findmypast which charge subscriptions. Quiz your oldest family members. Don’t put it off. Record family stories; identify photographs; collect BMD certificates; study censuses and parish records. Take a DNA test: mine found two second cousins, and dozens more relatives.  

Be prepared – you will find skeletons in the cupboard; there will also be heroes.  

Find out who you really are. Go on, you know you want to. 

Gary Barlow backs Be Well

To celebrate the inaugural post on our blog, we’re highlighting one of our favourite pieces from the February edition of the Bugle – superstar Gary Barlow showing his support for Be Well!

You can read the rest of this month’s Bugle here.

Last month, Vicky Murphy, our Intergenerational Lead, had the opportunity of a lifetime to chat to her her childhood hero on live radio! 

The interview with Mancunian Gary, whose career started in the boy band Take That, was set up by BBC Radio Manchester after the Glossop Chronicle did an article on the project, which links locked down older people with youngsters by having them writing letters to each other. Gary heard Vicky being interviewed on the Mike Sweeney Show and said he’d like to speak to her. And just after Christmas their chat went out on 40 BBC local stations around the country.

Singer Gary Barlow wearing a white suit during a live performance.
Gary Barlow first found fame in 90s boy band Take That, and has since enjoyed a successful solo career
Vicky is a young woman crouched between two little boys. They are playing indoor curling and laughing.
Vicky works hard to bring people of all ages together, in person when possible and through the Do the Write Thing project when we can't meet in person

“It was like a dream come true,” Vicky told The Bugle. “A month later, I’m still pinching myself!”

Vicky explained Do the Write Thing to Gary: “My job is helping improve older people’s wellbeing using intergenerational activities like singing or reading together. During lockdown, instead of actually bringing them physically together I organised a project where they could write to each other.”

Gary said: “What a brilliant idea you’ve had there! It always amazes me. When you came on Radio Manchester, I thought this personality I’m hearing is going to lead to something great. Well done you and what a brilliant idea.” 

Vicky has, officially, been walking on air ever since.

If you or someone you know – of any age – would like to be part of Do the Write Thing, please ring us on 07590 839421. 


    Welcome to the Be Well website.

    This site is full of the latest information on our activities in Glossop and beyond. We hope you find something we do that you want to do and we look forward to seeing you very soon.


    Girls into science 2016. This picture is from our British science week project 2016, on Marple Aqueduct


    Our wonderful ladies Walking netball group! Meets every Monday 10.30am at Pure Vibes, Ebenezer street, Whitfield


    Come and find out the health benefits & happiness you get from Walking Football! We have three different sessions across Glossop and Whaley to choose from!


    These ladies just couldn’t resist dancing the afternoon away after our Jazz hands & Fancy Feet session. Come and join in every Wednesday at 1.30pm, Jericho Café, Gamesley.