WORLD Book Day brought back childhood memories of hiding in an air raid shelter during the Second World War for one Tyneside care home resident.
Margaret Branch, 90, who lives at Willowdene Care Home, on Victoria Road West, Hebburn, recalled how she used to take shelter with her family during night-time air raids in the 1940s.
She was reminded after choosing to read The Railway Children on World Book Day – which was originally published in 1906 and was first broadcast on Children’s Hour on BBC radio in 1940.
Margaret said: “I actually have fond memories of The Railway Children from when I was a child.
“My mother would put us in our nightwear and we’d go to the air raid shelter where my mother would put The Railway Children on the radio. I felt safe and distracted from the bombs.”
Margaret was one of several residents at the care home to choose their favourite book from the library for the international celebration of reading.
A list of residents’ book choices was submitted to The Word Library, in South Shields, which were then delivered to the care home by librarian Maureen Cairns.
Staff at Willowdene Care Home dressed as characters from each of the books – including senior carer Sharon Dobson as Mary Poppins, carer Samantha Thompson as a chimney sweep, carer Claire Wade as Red Riding Hood, senior carer Shelby Fenwick as a leopard, carer Rebecca Sullivan as Alice in Wonderland, activities coordinator Christine Chandler as Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, maintenance man Richard Johns as a musketeer, and carer Gemma Brown as a spice girl.
Resident John Ellison, 80, chose to borrow The Wizard of Oz from the library, reading through it with the care home’s activities coordinator Christine, and singing “follow the yellow brick road” with fellow residents.
He said: “I love everyone’s costumes. They look great. It was such a great day.”
Chris Hogan-Hind, home manager at Willowdene Care Home, said: “The residents all loved the costumes and looking through the books. I would really like to thank the staff for putting it all together and making it a fun day for all. They really went above and beyond.
“The books all brought back fond childhood memories for many of the residents. Even Margaret, who was reminded of hiding in an air raid shelter by The Railway Children, had happy memories of spending time with her mother, feeling safe and distracted by the story.
“Even for those living with dementia, the power of books is amazing, able to transport you to another world or time and bring back vivid memories of when you first encountered them.”