New Columnist: More of us must put other people before ourselves

PUBLISHED: 14:16 27 April 2006 | UPDATED: 13:23 04 May 2010

“MANNERS Maketh Man” is Betty’s motto – but she feels that in this modern world the rules have changed.

"MANNERS Maketh Man" is Betty's motto - but she feels that in this modern world the rules have changed.

RETIRED teacher Betty Wilbraham became a celebrity overnight when pub staff told her to remove her hat because it was a security risk. The 82-year-old WI member struggled to understand the modern day ruling which meant ladies were expected to lunch witho

RETIRED teacher Betty Wilbraham became a celebrity overnight when pub staff told her to remove her hat because it was a security risk.

The 82-year-old WI member struggled to understand the modern day ruling which meant ladies were expected to "lunch without their hats".

Betty's story, of how she had to remove her hat because The Hereward pub's CCTV cameras wouldn't be able to see her face, was told exclusively in the Ely Standard and fired the imagination of the media and people around the country.

She appeared in several national newspapers, on radio stations in Scotland and Ireland and her story was syndicated to America.

Betty, of Bentham Way, Ely has been asked to address groups in the district and has received letters of support.

Betty, who is now know locally as "Betty With the Hat" has agreed to write a monthly column in the Ely Standard where she will share her views on modern-day life.

DILEMMA

IT'S a dilemma. You don't know how to address people these days. The common address is 'hi' to the highest and lowest rank of society. Well, I can't imagine saying 'hi' to any of my friends. They wouldn't know what it meant. Yet, when I meet my granddaughter's friends I say 'hi'. But my sister would not utter that word.

I would never have dreamt of addressing my mother's next door neighbour by her christian name. It was always Mrs Smith. We always said 'good morning' or 'good afternoon' but that has gone now.

PEER PRESSURE

Peer pressure is also much greater now. The children want what their friends have, they have more choice and the dress rules have changed.

My 12-year-old granddaughter is at boarding school and wears her uniform until just after lunch and then changes into home clothes for afternoon lessons.

She knows what the other girls are wearing and she wants to fit in. My daughters wore their school uniforms all the time at school, only being allowed to change into jeans and jumper on Saturday afternoons.

Boys wore short trousers until they left school at 14 and they went into long trousers for their first job. Children were expected to help out with the harvest and other jobs. They didn't have the leisure time they have now so there was not time to get into mischief.

But I think 75 per cent of children are obedient and respectful and you have to remember the home environment is so important.

MANNERS

Manners are like an oil that lubricates and smooths things over. It's about thinking about other people before yourself. I think a lot of the old fashioned ways have been lost and it is not always possible to get them back

It is very odd that I found young men more likely to hold the door open for you than young women. Why should that be?

I don't think you can stop progress, but you can slow down its rate a bit.

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