I was a wartime evacuee

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A stage play about wartime evacuation will evoke bittersweet memories for one member of the company.

Pauline Sterritt from the Lancaster Footlights was evacuated from her home in Kent during the Second World War.

So Pauline was a valuable source of information for Carol Williamson, director of the play ‘Carrie’s War’

Carrie’s War, showing at the Lancaster Grand from July 2 to 6, tells the story of Carrie and her brother Nick who are evacuated from London to a mining town in Wales.

At the age of 10, Pauline was evacuated firstly to Somerset and then herself ended up in Caerleon in South Wales.

For many children, the experience of moving from the city to the countryside was a real culture shock. Many children ended up having to help out on farms or in the home. Pauline had to make beds and do housework before she went to her lessons.

“I was the only child in my billet and I often felt lonely,” she recalls.

“My mother was only allowed to visit me once during my entire stay.

“Because of the scarcity of food,vegetables were grown on any available piece of ground including railway embankments.

“Fruit was hardly seen – bananas were made from parsnip mixed with banana essence and sweets were made from dried milk mixed with cocoa or peppermint.

“Games were played in the street where a tin can could keep children amused for hours and all toys were home made.”

After D Day, Pauline was able to return home to Kent and has a vivid memory of a band playing and flags decorating the railway station.

“It was very moving to hear Pauline’s account,” said Carol. “One cannot help but compare her experiences with the comparitively easy lives of children in the 21st century.”

Performances of Carrie’s War are every night at 7.30pm with an additional Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Tickets cost £7/£8/£9 with special rates for group bookings. Visit the Grand box office during opening hours or call 01524 64695.