PEOPLE

Bella Blanchard

‘My childhood was spent in rural Wiltshire, where my sister, two brothers and I had a very happy and carefree upbringing. My mother took us riding around the countryside and we played in the fields and woods. My father was a bit eccentric. He strongly believed that we should learn to stand on our own two feet, and with that in mind, used to drive us into the middle of nowhere, equipped only with compasses, the plan being that we should find our own way home. As contrary individuals we ...

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Brian Rice

‘I was born in Yeovil maternity hospital in 1936. My mother died a couple of weeks later from septicaemia and complications following the birth; there were no antibiotics in those days. My father arranged for my paternal grandparents to bring me up, in Tintinhull, until I was 11, when my grandmother died. So basically I was brought up by Victorians. It was strict, but I was well looked after, and after passing the 11-plus at Tintinhull village school I went to Yeovil Grammar. My father was in the RAF in ...

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Virginia Stewart

‘My Dad came from an old Sussex farming family in the tiny village of Ifield, which developed into the new town of Crawley. My mother came from a completely different family; her family was artistic and ambitiously academic. They moved from Manchester to Crawley, which is where my Mum and Dad met. They married at the age of 19, and had my twin sister Lorna and me when they were 20. At that age twin girls must have been a huge challenge for them. Nonetheless Mum, Adrienne, was ambitious and ...

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John Forrester Addie

Julia Mear met John Forrester Addie at his home in Colyton, East Devon ‘I was born in 1938 near Oswestry, Shropshire where I spent my early life until my lovely mother and father, Dilys and Robyn, moved the whole family to mid Wales, in 1947. I have one elder sister, Jane, and two younger brothers, Robert and Peter. Father was an Estate manager, Surveyor and Valuer. The origin of our surname is when, in 1846, Agnes Forrester married John Addie at Stirling, Scotland. At the age of nine I was sent to ...

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Julia Hailes

Robin Mills met Julia Hailes at her home in Hooke, West Dorset. 'My father was a prisoner of war, captured in Dunkirk at the age of 19. Apparently, he became expert at picking locks and tried to escape a few times, but he wouldn’t really tell us much about his five years in captivity. His army career continued after the war in Palestine, Malaya and Singapore, where he met my mother. Her route there was a rather surprising one, given that it wasn’t very common for women to travel the world ...

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