...the Ragdolly Anna series (1979-87) was dramatised in a popular Yorkshire TV series featuring Pat Coombs in the 1980s...
...During the second world war she served with the WRNS. She was introduced to David Chesterman by his father, her doctor, and on their first date went blackberrying with him. They married in 1945 and settled in Chorleywood, on the border between
Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. David worked first for Dunlop, and later as a classical music promoter, and together they brought up three children. Jean wrote in spare moments, in the kitchen or the garden, and also gave courses on the creative
imagination at the Harrow School of Art.
Her poems often appeared in magazines such as Country Life and on BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Corner. She published several collections of poems, starting with Rain (1946), which was dedicated to her brother, killed in the war, and, for children, A Book of
Rhymes (1947). Her last collection of children’s poems, Horses of the Moon, was published online in 2021.
Jean’s poetry expresses a deep love of the natural world, and also a mischievous humour, often close to nonsense, such as one poem about an old woman made wholly of string, or another about a man who did everything backwards. Some of the more serious
ones reveal a mystical centre, pondering the mysteries of life, death and change (she once said that after death she might return as a puddle), and the value of human relationships. She loved the sonnet form, which came naturally to her. In the poems for
children, rhythm and rhyme are always important, and there is often a hidden meaning...