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Memories are shared by Grantham care home residents for a special book

Residents at a care home in Grantham have had their memories published in a book.

The residents of Gregory House, in Welby Gardens, shared their memories of their lives which were recorded and edited for the book as part of the Elder Tree Project.

The East Midlands project celebrates the wealth of experience, knowledge and talent older people bring to communities. It is led by Writing East Midlands and Gregory House was visited regularly by Lytisha Turnbridge and Michelle Hubbard for the project.

Lytisha Turnbridge and Michelle Hubbard led the Elder Tree Project at Gregory House Care Home. (16811146)
Lytisha Turnbridge and Michelle Hubbard led the Elder Tree Project at Gregory House Care Home. (16811146)

Resident Margaret Johnson took part in the project and was able to talk about growing up near Long Bennington during the war.

Margaret, 87, said: “I’m a Yellowbelly and proud of it.”

Margaret’s memories of growing up included those of young evacuees who came to stay from the south.

Margaret said: “We had evacuees stay in the village and they had never seen a cow or horses before. They were terrified!”

Margaret added: “I knew nothing about Grantham. In those days you didn’t need to visit the town and I never went there until I started a job in the library, which is now the museum.”

Margaret also told the story of a friend of hers who befriended a German prisoner of war from a camp in Allington. Eventually they were married and Margaret’s friend settled in Germany with her new husband. Forty years later Margaret answered a knock on her door to find her friend on the doorstep, so many decades after last seeing her.

Another Gregory House resident, Joan Mattless, 88, also has vivid memories of the war years which she shared for the project.

Born in Peterborough, she moved with her family to Grantham where her father worked for Aveling Barford.

Joan said she does not remember playing outdoors during the war. She said: “I told them I didn’t remember playing games outdoors in the street. The Germans would fly over and suddenly fire a burst of gunfire, so we became used to playing indoors.

“We lived in Walton Gardens and I remember the German bombers dropping bombs near the railway.”

Of the Elder Tree Project, Joan said: “I think at first we thought it was going to be a bit boring, but we actually had a lot of laughs. There was a lot of learning and it was very interesting. It was very interesting to learn what other people had remembered.”

Gregory House home manager Anna Lewkowicz said: “Our residents really enjoyed taking part in The Elder Tree project and working with professional writers who have captured their memories and stories in such a special way.

“It was also lovely for our residents to spend quality time together getting to know each other’s life stories a bit better.

“The Gregory Book is our real pride and joy – a great memento of a fantastic project.”

A spokesman for the project said: “The Elder Tree invites people to share stories and memories as part of a group, and this is a great way to not only stimulate creativity, but to make new friends too. This will make a huge difference, helping reduce feelings of loneliness as it brings people and communities together.”

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