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Woman recalls how visit from late mother as a stag convinced her to fight Norfolk substation plans

PUBLISHED: 11:28 15 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:31 15 September 2018

Author Jenny Smedley saw her late mother in the form of a stag in her garden. Photo: Peter Walsh

Author Jenny Smedley saw her late mother in the form of a stag in her garden. Photo: Peter Walsh

A Norfolk author has recalled how an encounter with her late mother in the form of a stag convinced her to fight plans for new substations in her village.

Red deer in the fields at Snettisham Park Farm. Picture: Ian BurtRed deer in the fields at Snettisham Park Farm. Picture: Ian Burt

Author Jenny Smedley, 68, from Necton, said her mother Win Bishop died in hospital of heart failure more than 20 years ago.

Since then, Mrs Smedley said her mother would send her messages in different ways whenever she thought of her, especially in times of need.

Last summer, the author was worrying anxiously about moving from her bungalow in Necton, after plans to build two new substations near her home for an offshore wind farm were revealed.

Jenny Smedley said she saw a stag in the bottom of the garden. Picture: Jenny SmedleyJenny Smedley said she saw a stag in the bottom of the garden. Picture: Jenny Smedley

She stepped into the garden early one morning and thought of her mother, asking her for help and advice.

She said the bungalow in the countryside would have been her mother’s dream home, having growing up in a council home.

“I remember the sun was coming up at the very back of the garden,” Mrs Smedley said. “I was thinking are we going to have to move? Should we stay? Is this really the place we are meant to be?

Jenny Smedley and her mother Win Bishop in the Norfolk Broads in 1978. Picture: Jenny SmedleyJenny Smedley and her mother Win Bishop in the Norfolk Broads in 1978. Picture: Jenny Smedley

MORE: Two giant trenches and up to 11 years of construction work - what the world’s biggest offshore wind farms mean for Norfolk



“Then I saw a stag in the back of the garden in front of the sun, he was a black silhouette, I could see the size of it and the antlers. 
“I didn’t move, I didn’t want it to go away, it was a moment of magic.”

Mrs Smedley said the stag fled after a few seconds but the encounter played on her mind throughout that day.

Jenny Smedley and her mother Win Bishop in 1969. Picture: Jenny SmedleyJenny Smedley and her mother Win Bishop in 1969. Picture: Jenny Smedley

She said it helped her to decide not to leave her home, adding: “I knew it was a sign from her - this is my home and my mum thought it was her home too.”

Since then, Mrs Smedley has been determinedly campaigning against the plans, which will see two new substations built alongside an existing one, which is due to treble in size, as part of the Necton Substations Action Group.

The first time her mother’s spirit came to her as a manifestation was as a shooting star on the day she died.

“I couldn’t believe she’d gone without telling me or not leaving a sign,” Mrs Smedley said. “At that moment, a large meteor or shooting star shot across the sky, as if to say I’m still here, still looking after you.”

Although many have expressed their scepticism, Mrs Smedley is adamant her mother is speaking to her spiritually.

She added: “When my mum was alive she was obsessed with ghosts, it was her ambition to be one.

“Obviously people are going to think you are looney,” she said. “Which is okay, but it is sad really that they have never had any magic in their lives.”

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