Q&A with Debbie Reavell

Debbie Reavell

Debbie Reavell

First published in Basingstoke

DEBBIE Reavell was born in Basingstoke during the great freeze of 1947 at the Red Lion Hotel, where her father and widowed grandmother were joint licensees.

She married her husband Fraser in 1968, and lived for two years in Rome and two years in Paris, before returning to Basingstoke.

In 1973, their twins Ben and Kirstie were born and now they have two grandchildren, Gideon and Madeleine.

Debbie has been a school and college governor, worked for 30 years as a volunteer in the CAB, and graduated with a degree in History of Art in 2001.

She is a trustee of two Basingstoke charities and clerk of another and was secretary of Basingstoke Heritage Society for 18 years.

She enjoys local history and finding out about Basingstoke’s past.

1. Who was your childhood hero and why? Katy Carr in What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. As a child, the Americanisms puzzled me but at heart it was the story of a girl, the eldest in a family, who overcame an injury and sickness and cared for her younger siblings.

2. What is your most precious possession and why is it important to you?  My engagement ring. I’ve been married for 45 years and grateful for it.

3. What was the first record/CD you bought? Blow the Wind Southerly sung by Kathleen Ferrier.

4. What is the radio/television show you hate to miss? Probably consistently University Challenge.

5. What is your favourite film? Room with a View from an E M Forster novel and set in Florence.

6. What is your pet hate? Drivers with the car windows open sharing their favourite music at high volume!

7. What are you reading at the moment? Stoner by John Williams. It’s a quiet American novel enjoying a revival at the moment.

8. If you were choosing a last meal, what would it be? Osso buco cooked by my friend Hilary where she and Giorgio live outside Rome.

9. If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be? This is difficult – so many people to choose from. Maybe Sir William Sandys, who built the Holy Trinity Chapel onto the Holy Ghost Chapel in Basingstoke in 1530. I could ask him what it felt like to remove items from the chapel for religious reasons so soon after he had built it.

10. If you had a time machine where would it take you? Eighteenth century Basingstoke – in the time of Jane Austen.

11. If you were stranded on a desert island what luxury would you choose to have with you? Paper, pencils, paints.

12. What sports team do you support? I don’t.

13. What was your first job? Clerical assistant, Inland Revenue (Tax Office).

14. If you could take over someone’s job for the day, whose job would you choose? I would shadow the director of collections for the Tate or the National and have a look round in their paintings store!

15. What worries you the most? Family concerns.

16. What is your proudest moment? Getting my History of Art degree aged 54. It was a struggle!

17. What would you like your epitaph to be? ‘No regrets’.

18. What’s your guilty pleasure? Being in the entrance of an art gallery and looking forward to finding some lovely stuff.

19. What one thing could change society for the better? I would like people to have a sense of the place that they live and to like that place.

20. What three words best describe you? I am contrary (argumentative?) but determined and, I think, principled.

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