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Hunstanton woman who worked at Bletchley Park dies aged 96

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A veteran of the codebreakers of Bletchley Park, Margaret Lumley Bullen (nee Boulton) has died in Hunstanton one day after her 96 th birthday.

She was born in Kings Lynn, attended King's Lynn High School and was Miss Kings Lynn.

She was working in Barclays Bank on the Tuesday Market Place when the War Office in London called her for an interview for Bletchley Park. She worked on wiring the Heath Robinson machine and Colossus, the famous Lorenz code-breaking machine.

Margaret Bullen at Bletchley Park (42943385)
Margaret Bullen at Bletchley Park (42943385)

She signed the Official Secrets Act and none of her family knew about her time at Bletchley until 1995!

She met her future husband Geoffrey Bullen in Kings Lynn. They married in St Faith’s Church, Gaywood.

They lived in Loughton Essex for 20 years, and Margaret’s commitment to volunteering and fund-raising began there, helping with Meals on Wheels and NSPCC.

Margaret Bullen unveils plaque to husband Geoffrey Bullen at the Hanse House, Lynn, in 2016. MLNF16MF09002
Margaret Bullen unveils plaque to husband Geoffrey Bullen at the Hanse House, Lynn, in 2016. MLNF16MF09002

In 1973 the Bullens returned to Norfolk, living in Heacham and Old Hunstanton.

Margaret continued her voluntary work by helping at the Hospital Library, Rebecca Court in Heacham and Heacham School. She was also part of a group of ladies who repaired some of the furniture at Houghton Hall.

She and Geoff made many lasting friends through Rotary, and she continued to enjoy meeting with members of Inner Wheel for a pub lunch.

It was an interest in the RNLI and being part of the Lifeboat Guild that became her passion. She worked tirelessly fundraising and became chairwoman of the committee and loved nothing more than visiting the lifeboat crew on a Sunday morning and taking them all Kit-Kats.

She was still serving on the committee as President up to her death. This passion and commitment lead to her being awarded an MBE of which she was extremely proud.

Margaret will be remembered for her enthusiasm for life, sunny smile and love of people, always ready to call out “Hallo darling” and have a chat. She and Geoff’s doors were always open for visitors, young and old. They had a gin and tonic and cheesy biscuits ready and waiting.

She was a lady of great style and elegance, never going anywhere without her earrings, necklace and lipstick. She was an amazing gardener whose gardens were always a blaze of colour, this interest being passed on to her children and grandchildren.

Her final months were spent at the Nightingale Lodge Care Home, Hunstanton.

Margaret is survived by her daughter Jane, son Andy, grandchildren Charles, Rebecca, Alex, Harriet and Hugh and four great-grandchildren, all of whom loved her dearly.

Due to Covid restrictions there will be a small private service with the hope of a Celebration of her Life in the New Year.

No flowers please but any donations to the RNLI in her memory. Her funeral is being handled by Fakenham and District Funeral Directors.

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