Wartime recalled at centenary celebrations
IT will be a trip down memory lane, to a happy childhood as an evacuee in Devon, when 76-year-old Ellen Reeves travels from her home in London to celebrate the centenary of Collaton St Mary parish rooms on Saturday, September 22.
Every step of the way she will recall friends she made when she spent much of her childhood living with her mother in a converted railway carriage on the edge of the village.
It was 1941 and the ground floor of the parish rooms had become the schoolroom for evacuee children taken to Devon to escape the Blitz of London.
They are very fond memories of people and places with names and faces still vivid and clear.
BRAND NEW FORD B-MAX ZETEC 1.0 ECOBOOST FOR ONLY £7685*View details
1.0 100PS Manual
Electric Windows & Mirrors
Quickclear Heated Windscreen
15" Alloy Wheels
Bluetooth with Ford Sync
*Drive away from only £7685 and then pay nothing for 24 months!
Contact: 01626 240583
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Miss Burge, the headmistress who was also Brown Owl of the Brownies; Miss Horsham, her much-loved teacher who always gave a penny to any pupil who had a birthday and other teachers are all remembered fondly.
The school board man was Mr Boddington and the cleaner Mrs Eastley, who she first met when Ellen and young friends were having a picnic in the field next to her cottage.
Ellen recalled: "She came up to us and said 'Would e' mind movin' m'dears. Us wants to shoot George'. It turned out that George was her aged dog."
Ellen remembers a large Morrison shelter in each of the rooms used by the evacuees. When there was a school concert the children went up the back staircase to the stage. They also went upstairs for country dancing.
At Christmas, a tree was sent to the school from Barton Pines, then a girls' home.
Ellen also remembers 'Pop' Andrews, the sexton and gravedigger, Father Mills the vicar and Mr Pope, the village postmaster.
There was an evacuee family from Guernsey called the Northotts.
The Home Guard were carrying out invasion manoeuvres and Ellen remembers a group of them marching through the village 'like they do in Dad's Army'.
"We were going to school one day when one of the Home Guard said we weren't allowed to cross the road because we were in the hands of the enemy, so there were no lessons that day," she said.
Ellen's father remained in London where he was a school teacher but later joined them in Devon and taught at the Tweenaway senior school and Audley Park in Torquay.
For her mother, it was like coming home as she was originally from Totnes.
In 1944, she and Ellen moved out of the railway carriage and lived in the town until they moved back to London in 1946.
The wartime will be recalled at the centenary celebrations when the parish rooms will be open from 9am to 6pm with displays of photographs, memorabilia and an opportunity to meet old friends from school days.
Information and memories can be emailed to history@collatonstmary. org.uk