PEOPLE

Paul Lashmar

‘I was born in Rainham, Essex, in a rented 2-up 2-down cottage with the spider-infested toilet out the back and a tin bath in front of the fire on a Friday evening. My mother was second-generation Irish whose family came to Dagenham because that was where the work was. My mother and father met while they were both in the RAF just after the war; he came from Bournemouth, and the name Lashmar is English despite how it sounds. My first memory is that of seeing a red sky from ...

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Corrie Van Rijn

‘I was born in a small fishing town called Katwijk aan Zee in the Netherlands. My family was very religious; there was church twice on Sundays and prayers before and after every meal. The town itself was quite conservative, and my family fitted the community. I was number 6 of 7 children, and despite the emphasis on religion, it was a lively household, full of music. My 5 brothers all played an instrument, and I loved to sing. I have very happy memories of that time, and I still do ...

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Andrew Dickson

‘I grew up in Richmond, near London, in a loving musical family. My parents and one sister played fiddles, the others piano and flute, and there was always music, especially at Christmas. I started ukulele at 11 and guitar at 12, which became my main instrument. Aged 13 I did a term at the Spanish Guitar Centre in Leicester Square learning Classical; it took them that long to realize I was doing it all by ear, so that was the end of my formal training. I think I’ve gained most ...

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Steven Spurrier

‘I was brought up in Derbyshire where my family have lived for several hundred years. We have been churchwardens of the village church at Marston-on-Dove, where my elder brother still lives, since 1632 without a break. He will be the final churchwarden there. The Damascene Conversion moment for me was Christmas Eve, 1954, probably my first in long trousers because I’d just started at Rugby public school, dining with my grandfather, parents and brother in the family house. He said, “I think you’re old enough for a glass of port”. A ...

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Jane Corry

‘I was an only child until I was seven when my sister came along. I read a lot and enjoyed my own company. I wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember and still have scraps of paper on which I’d written little stories in rounded childish writing. My parents didn’t have much money but they loved books. They would read to me every night and I am sure this made a big difference. My mother was a nurse and later an educational welfare officer. My ...

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