Nostalgic pensioners enjoy a blast from the past as South Shields care home gets in the war-time spirit

Nostalgic old folk in South Tyneside enjoyed a blast from the past to kick off a weekend of wartime celebrations.
Betty Hedley, Katie Spottiswood Lillian Burns delved into the past at Garden Hill Care Home.Betty Hedley, Katie Spottiswood Lillian Burns delved into the past at Garden Hill Care Home.
Betty Hedley, Katie Spottiswood Lillian Burns delved into the past at Garden Hill Care Home.

Residents at Garden Hill care home, in St Michael’s Avenue, South Shields, took a welcome trip down memory lane after the town’s Central Library loaned out two of its memory boxes crammed with memorabilia spanning both world wars.

A treasure trove of precious items – including medals, ration books, clothing and newspapers from the era – were unearthed as residents turned back the clock.

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The wartime artefacts sparked plenty of memories and were the source of great debate among residents, staff and their families.

The pensioners couldn’t wait to delve into the borough’s rich wartime heritage and bring history to life.

They poured over newspapers carrying coverage of the war effort back at home and in the trenches and looked back at ration books that were a staple part of many of their lives growing up.

The library handed over the historic haul to help the care home mark Local and Community History Month.

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Garden Hill will be bringing the past to the present once more tomorrow by hosting a traditional street party to celebrate VE Day.

The care home will be decked out in patriotic decorations, while residents will be serenaded by a singer performing classic songs from the era in period dress.

Staff were delighted to share in a ‘fascinating’ look back in time.

Sina Scott, activities coordinator at Garden Hill care home, said: “The library’s memory boxes are fantastic and have led to hours of discussion and reminiscing throughout the week.

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“Some of the pieces have brought back a lot of memories and we’ve been sharing our life experiences and personal recollections of these items. It’s been fascinating to listen to their stories.”

The aim of Local and Community History Month is to increase awareness of local history and promote history in general to the community.

Budding historians can learn more about the borough’s bygone eras by visiting the Local Studies Collection at the Central Library, in Prince Georg Square, South Shields which provides maps, photographs, directories, local newspapers and more.

There are also a series of events going on throughout South Tyneside in honour of the month, from photographic displays to family history drop-in sessions.