IT is no surprise to find many of the thousands of images taken by Brightlingsea's Alf Jefferies feature his wife Shelagh.

The keen amateur photographer notched up in excess of 20,000 pictures during a lifetime travelling around the county and region beyond with his trusty camera, leaving many of those still to be developed upon his death two decades ago.

His daughter Lynn Ballard has taken on the painstaking task of cataloguing his work, setting up a social media presence in order to get his work out to the general public with huge success.

Now the images reflect the life of Alf's widow, Shelagh, who has sadly recently passed away.

Lynn paid tribute to her mum who was born Sheila Rose Norman in October 1937.

Her mother was widowed she and her older sister June were later taken into care and adopted.

The girls were adopted by Arthur and Kath Butler and moved to Ipswich and then various other towns and shop premises before arriving in Brightlingsea in the early 1950s.


  • Proud - Shelagh was a tutor for many year

The family lived at that time in Victoria Place where they had a provisions store and where Shelagh met Alf.

"Dad was in awe of her and would go in to buy bags of sugared almonds so he could get to see her.

"In fact a few of the older men in the village still remember her and some even draw breath before saying her name, "Shelagh Butler !""

Lynn adds : "Eventually Alf proposed and they got engaged and married in 1958, moving to St Julian Grove in Colchester.

"Mum had trained in Elocution and drama with Mrs Craig of Brightlingsea fame.


  • Outing - Shelagh and daughter Lynn Ballard in the late 1960s

"She was also a regular member of the Comedy Club in the 1950’s and worked as a telephonist in Brightlingsea, Abbey Gate House and Essex Hall in Colchester.

"She continued to train, becoming an elocution and drama teacher in the late 1960s."

The family moved to Artillery Street and then to Winnock Street where they ran a bed & breakfast for 12 years.

Shelagh had lived on the Priory Estate in Stoke-by-Nayland since 1987, working for the Engelheart family for 30 years as a tutor.


  • Pose - Shelagh worked in her parents shop in Brightlingsea

"She went there with Dad when they lost everything to the financial crash that year.

"She found the job in the Lady Magazine and with her talk of hosting English study students, running our B&B in Winnock Road and her elocution and drama training she got the job.

"They loved the life and had always dreamt of an old thatched cottage with roses around the door and land to grow her vegetables," says Lynn.

Alf was also still working at the time, at Collier & Catchpole in Colchester, where he was employed for 25 years before retiring due to ill health.

He died in 1996 aged 64.

"Mum stayed on the estate for another 20 years after Dad died and she loved the family like her own.


  • Journey - one of Alf's pictures captures her on the train

"She was diagnosed with dementia and moved to Nayland House Residential Home in Bear Street in 2017 but she hated it.

"Missing her cottage, her independence and the freedom to go out when she wanted."

Paying tribute to her mum Lynn explains Shelagh has a varied life, travelling with her sister, their mum and a choir to Begium in 1946, cycling to Snowdon and falling victim to Polio in Brightlingsea during the epidemic of the early 1950s.

After lynn's birth in 1962 the family would often travel to Europe, where Shelagh had a number of pen pals made on the choir trip, with the last trip being to Switzerland in 1971.


  • Sunny - Alf, Shelagh and baby Lynn with friends at Butlins in Clacton in the 1960s

As well as polio, Shelagh also suffered long lasting effects of another serious illness, explains Lynn.

"She fell from the back of a bus in Ipswich on my second birthday in 1964, causing a major head injury.

"It was another 12 years before we discovered the tremors she suffered were Epilepsy. Caused by the head injury all those years before."


  • Splash - Shelagh at Colchester's open air swimming pool

Shelagh also leaves behind her sister June, grandchildren Samantha and Thomas, three great grandchildren, and a large number of nieces and nephews.

Lynn adds :" She was a character and is remembered by many many people, She won’t be forgotten."


  • Portrait - Shelagh Jefferies

A funeral service will take place on Monday January 28 at Colchester Crematorium.