Glenda Montgomery, the 'driving force' behind Ladies in Pigs, dies, aged 89
9th Feb 2020 / By Alistair Driver
Glenda Montgomery, a hugely respected and much-loved figure across the pig industry who co-founded Ladies in Pigs in 1991, has died at the age of 89.
Glenda was married to Rex Mongomery, a farm manager, who kept his own pigs in partnership with a local publican on an estate in Weybridge, in Surrey.
In a colourful profile on Glenda in Pig World in 2006 (see pages 41 to 46), Digby Scott explained how they met in the china cupboard at University Vandals rugby club – and how Ladies in Pigs, still going strong today, was started.
“Had Glenda not met Rex Montgomery in the cupboard, had he not been keeping pigs in sties near the big house on a Surrey estate, and had the income from the pigs not paid for their wedding, she would not, years later, have been on a coach full of pig farmers who were grumbling about poor prices,” he wrote.
“She put up with it for as long as she could, then stood up and berated them for whingeing. For goodness sake get out there and promote your product, she cried.
“If you’re so clever, YOU do it, they yelled back. ‘And I thought, buggered if I won’t.’ So there you have it. That’s how Ladies in Pigs started.”
Over what is now nearly three decades on, the organisation that Glenda founded has become an institution, still appearing at events up and down the country, promoting high quality, great tasting Red Tractor British pork. It is now increasingly branching out into educating young people about the realities of pig farming and the many benefits of British pork.
The lady now at the helm, Debbie Wilson, paid a glowing tribute to Glenda.
“Glenda was such a wonderful person and one I always had a great deal of respect for," she said. "She was the driving force in establishing Ladies in Pigs and it is said that, although she liked a gin after a hard days work with the ladies, she was tireless in her determination!
“The ladies send their love and support to the lovely Rex and family at this very sad time.”
Former NPA chair Richard Longthorp described Glenda a ‘larger than life character, particularly after a gin or three’.
If you have any memories of Glenda you would like to share, please send them to the NPA forum.
In his article, Digby explained how Glenda had a habit of departing from recipes with 'a pinch
of this and a soupçon of that'.
"I tell them to follow the recipe in the book but always to remember it is a basic recipe and if they can think of ways of improving it, perhaps with garlic or herbs, then they should. Don’t think that recipes are written in tablets of stone," she said
"Pork is such a versatile meat and will readily adapt to all sorts and types of flavours. When you’ve had a bit of experience you soon learn how to improve recipes with a spot of this and a tincture of that."
Glenda was also a poet, who told the story of Ladies in Pigs in the following verse:
By Glenda Montgomery
Way back in 1991, when Rex was fit and I was young
Pig farmers moaned about their fate and truth to tell their lives weren't great
For me retirement, hours of leisure, a life of undemanding pleasure
Four ladies met and as fate will when nature offers time to kill
Their personalities combined to see what ideas they could find
That might inspire to more success what sadly had caused such distress
And on discussion all agreed promotion's what pig farmers need
Convince folk British pork is best, our quality will do the rest.
They gathered strength to spread the word and made sure everyone heard
That lovely, tasty, British pork, is what is needed on your fork
With begging bowls they found support and coaxed and found the help they sought
And soon an energetic band, of ladies overran the land
The lack of cash to pay our way, meant find the cheapest place to stay
Naively we thought we would try the old Rank Village — my oh my
When booking in we should have guessed the rooms just might not be the best
But being asked "Do you want sheets?" drained healthy colour from our cheeks.
It took not much to wonder why, the sheets we got were not quite dry
We gritted teeth and tried again and wine in Hugh's flat eased the pain
And then we thought self-catering might, suit with a caravan on site
And borrowed for our show forays a van that had seen better days
Three beds, three ladies, what is sadder than no loo and a bursting bladder
And finally one must obey and scuttle bravely all the way
Cross showground eerily a threat, when cold mists make the nightie wet.
As things progressed funds were provided, chairman installed who planned and guided
Our structure simple — nothing deep, just promises we would try to keep
We travelled with our motors crammed with hygiene units, pots and pans
Until our sponsorship agreed, a mobile kitchen's what they need
And what a blessing she has been, what fun and frolics she has seen
For many years we hit the roads, with great and varied LIPS show loads
We know our product is the best — will daily put it to the test
We'll talk about it, cook it, slice it, make recipes and herb and spice it
Encourage children to enjoy it, tell TV chefs they should employ it
We'll do whatever must be done, to prove our product number one
We've reached maturity and pray, that we'll continue in our way
And hope that others join our ranks and when they do we'll offer thanks
And hope that if as mad as we, they'll take LIPS to eternity
Twenty one years have been great fun and I've enjoyed them every one!