Thanks to children at Ponteland First School, a resident at a local nursing home has entered a short story competition with a tale capturing evacuation courage.
When Annette Dodds, the Activities co-ordinator at Care UK’s Ponteland Manor home, was talking to resident Joan Huntley, she uncovered a moving story. Annette explains: “I had been talking to Joan about her experiences as a young teacher at Cowgate Primary School during the Second World War when she was responsible for evacuating her young pupils.
“I spoke to the staff at our local school and luckily they were studying the subject at the time. A group of children then came to visit us dressed as evacuees. The residents loved the visit and it brought back many memories for them.
“I had seen that Care UK was holding a short story competition for residents across its 88 homes nationwide. I talked to Joan and she said she would love to capture the memories that the visit had triggered, so she dictated her story and I wrote it down.
“Joan was very pleased to be able to share her experiences. It was a time of mixed emotions – exciting, but worrying too. However, Joan would never have met her husband if she had not been evacuated and that made it all worthwhile.”
Two other residents, from the home in Thornhill Road, have also entered the competition. The home’s manager, Jeannete Leadbitter, said: “As well as another written story, we have submitted a painting from a resident, which captures a story within the picture.
“The rules of the competition allow people to tell stories in whatever way they can, as it is what people have to say that is important and Care UK wants to hear as many voices and stories as possible.”
The competition winners will be announced on 1st March and will receive £250.