'You reap what you sow' - Sheffield grandmother looks back on lifetime of service to community

A modest Sheffield grandmother who has been running a community bingo night for more than 40 years says she doesn’t deserve praise for it – it’s just ‘something she does’.

Friday, 23rd August 2019, 1:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 8:24 pm
We are Sheffield - Theresa Nuttall. Picture: Chris Etchells

Teresa Nuttall, aged 70, of Northlands Road, Southey Green, was nominated for a prize at The Star’s inaugural Women of Sheffield award ceremony in March this year.

When she got the phonecall informing her of the news, she initially said she couldn’t attend, but was persuaded to change her plans by her ‘fantastically supportive’ family.

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Dorrett Buckley Greaves MBE Award for Community. Winners with Dorrett are Maureen Greaves, Teresa Nuttall, and Liesje Dusauzay. The Star Women of Sheffield 2019 Awards presentation. The Star launched the awards to celebrate females who have made a difference to others in the city. Picture: Chris Etchells

“I said you have got the wrong phone number but someone had nominated me for my fundraising and charity work,” she said.

“I still don’t know why I was put forward but my boys said it was about time you got some recognition.”

At the ‘lovely’ awards ceremony she met former Sheffield United legend Tony Currie - one of her family’s footballing heroes - who she got a selfie with.

He granted Teresa her wish but not before kindly saying it should be him asking her for one.

Now 70, she has been doing charity and community work for almost 50 years, since her boys were in infanthood and she was in her 30s.

Teresa is perhaps best known in the community for running the weekly bingo nights at St Cecilia’s and St Bernard’s Church on Southey Hill.

“I started the bingo nights when one of my sons was about 18 months old and he is 49 now,” she says.

“For the first one I borrowed £40 from the father of the church and made 10p profit. That meant the world to me.”

Now, almost half a century later she still does the bingo night every Friday night at 8pm apart from Good Friday.

She said: “People don’t realise what a social thing it is. There are some people who come and it is the only time they get out.

“Some people have been coming since the very beginning. I have watched them bring their children and then them grow up and have children of their own.”

Teresa sadly lost her husband Brian three years ago, and for the first time in decades experienced the feeling of being alone.

“You don’t realise how bad loneliness is until it happens to you,” she said.

“But I have a great family around me. I cook tea for them every Monday night and I just love it.”

Teresa also raises hundreds of pounds for charities including Macmillan and the Alzheimer’s Society, and acts as a walking guide for Sheffield’s Royal Society of the Blind.

And she now gets taken out to another bingo night in nearby Shirecliffe by a couple she met through her community work.

“That is their thanks to me for all I have done,” she said.

“I have always been a friendly person and tried to help people. I suppose you reap what you sow.”

Teresa and Brian would have celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last Friday.

On the day itself she planned to go to his grave - hopefully with her two boys if possible - before again doing her bit for the community.

“It’s Friday, so it’s bingo night.”