From the four-year-old girl who was split up from her sisters when she was evacuated during the war, to a boy left up a tree all day for disobedience, evacuees some made to work for their keep and others more fortunate, to a family who crossed the globe to Australia as ‘ten-pound-poms’ – the memories come tumbling back as a village tells its stories of childhood laughter amid poverty, poor health care, street parties and life in the 1930s, 40s, 50s and a few from the 60’s.

A time before central heating, mobile phones and computers when tin baths in front of the fire, rabbit pie, skipping ropes and go carts made from old pram wheels were the everyday joys of childhood.

Gathered together during 2019 from the Great Ellingham Chit-Chat Group in Norfolk, Childhood Memories contains a collection of 30 real-life stories.

The Chit-Chat Group was started in 2011 by Ann Reeve with a handful of people and now averages anything from 40-60 people who meet EVERY Wednesday morning to socialise and keep loneliness at bay.

Each story has illustrations alongside the text by amateur artist and group member Christine Fuller, while the group’s very own poet laureate Arthur Hollis, who turns 93 this year, has contributed charmingly evocative poems.

The forward has been written by The Lady Dannatt MBE, HM Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, with an introduction by Baroness Gillian Shephard of Northwold, former constituency MP for South West Norfolk.

Ann Reeve sincerely hopes that the book will be an inspiration for other communities to do the same, because  once people pass away, their stories can be lost forever if not previously jotted down.

Once publishing costs have been met, all other proceeds from the book will go to charity.