Teenage heroine

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A Cuxwold teenager received the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery back in 1960.

Jean Bromley had rescued three small children from a house fire.

The 17-year-old carried Jane, Rebecca and Matthew Walgate to safety when fire took hold of their home in the early hours of the morning; the Old Rectory was gutted by the blaze.

Here is the full report from the occasion from the Market Rasen Mail of March 19, 1960.

“These three small children certainly owe their lives to your courage, coolness and resourcefulness,” said the Earl of Ancaster, Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, when he presented the Queen’s commendation for bravery on Saturday afternoon to Miss Jean Bromley, a 17-year-old Cuxwold girl in the council chamber at Caistor RDC offices.

Jean, simply dressed in a grey coat, smiled rather nervously as Lord Ancaster pinned the silver laurel leaf emblem associated with this award to the lapel of her coat.

When fire swept through the Old Rectory at Cuxwold in the early hours of a January day Jean, awakened by the smoke, rushed to the three children of which she had been left in charge. In turn, she carried to safety Jane, Rebecca and Matthew Walgate. The house itself was gutted.

“I am certain,” said Lord Ancaster to the large company in the council chamber, “that Miss Bromley feels, like all brave people, that she did no more than her duty and that anyone else would have done the same in similar circumstances. But to get these things in the right perspective we have to ask ourselves how we should have behaved in circumstances like these. If we do so, we shall admire all the more the courage, resourcefulness and coolness shown by Miss Bromley.”

Not Lightly Given

Lord Ancaster said that in some ways it might seem to be regrettable that so long a time should elapse before a presentation of this kind was made but it should be realised that the Queen’s commendation was not something which was given lightly. All the facts were considered by a special committee before a recommendation was made and a case such as this was then submitted to Her Majesty. With this award was a personal letter under the hand of the Prime Minister.

Jean was warmly applauded when she stepped forward to receive the silver laurel emblem and the letter which accompanied it.

Coun J Nickerson JP, chairman of the council, spoke at the outset of Lord Ancaster’s own very great services to the county. He had given himself unsparingly to the duties of an important office, said Coun Nickerson, and they were delighted to welcome him to their rural district.

Referring to Miss Bromley’s act of bravery, Coun Nickerson said that but for what she did these children would have perished.

Those present in addition to a large number of councillors included Mrs V Neale and Mr R Croft-Baker, chairman and clerk of Caistor Magistrates Court, Supt A M Tew, Mr W A Spouge, chief fire officer for Lindsey, Mr and Mrs J R Walgate and others from Cuxwold.

Lord Ancaster and other guests afterwards stayed for luncheon with Mr Joseph Nickerson. His lordship warmly praised the progress made by Caistor RDC in many spheres.