BBC Radio 5 recently did a programme on a WWII spy who was uncovered to her neighbours after passing away.

Richard Markell lived next to Eileen Burgoyne on a leafy street in Twickenham for 20 years. When she died at the age of 97 her secret life of espionage was uncovered – along with a Sten gun and a cache of weapons and ammunition.

Richard says his ex-neighbour seemed like a “very shy and retiring person” – not someone who had been a spy during World War II.

On Radio 5 Live he said: “My wife happened to meet her at a funeral for an older person down here,” said Markell. “She intimated to my wife that she used to work for Mi5.”

“We assumed she was a spy. I told all our neighbours and none of them believed me.”


Here at Forever Manchester we understand the strong roles women have in their communities, and we’ve funded a lot of community groups and projects that reflect this.

We recently launched ‘Forever Manchester Women’, which is a series of events celebrating women in business across Greater Manchester. In our first instalment, Jean Mills, Head of Business Development at Forever Manchester spoke about some of the amazing female led community groups that Forever Manchester has recently supported.

One of the groups highlighted was Gorgeous Gorse Hill, a group of four women who looked around their neighbourhood and decided to make a change. Small changes like planting flowers and painting bollards and junction boxes (pictured) making a busy neighbourhood a nicer place. They really make a difference to the community and get people talking and involved in continuing to improve their area.

Jean also talked about recently funded group the Young Women’s Health Project. This is a project run by and for lesbian and bisexual women who have been rejected by their families or their faith and need a safe place, where they can meet other women and find support. Focusing on improving six areas of wellness including physical, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual and occupational.

If you’d like to be inspired by women in business across Greater Manchester, head to our next Forever Manchester Women event on 8th July at The Ainscow Hotel in Salford.