Memories flow with tea and cake

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Sixth form students from St Aidan’s Church of England High School recently treated a group of older people to an afternoon tea with an historical flavour.

The guests, who are all clients of local charity the Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) Opening Door’s service, were invited to share their memories of Harrogate over tea and home-baked refreshments, prepared and served by sixth form Food Technology students.

They were joined by a group of A level history students who were keen to hear the guests’ stories from the past. The guests, all over the age of 65, covered topics as diverse as their experiences in wartime, advances in medicine and the creation of the NHS.

Some of the fascinating insights to come out of the conversations were tales of an abandoned parachute being made into silk underwear for all the women in a rural Yorkshire village, as well as postmen who dropped in for tea and a chat on their daily rounds.

The idea for the project came from a tea party held to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday in April, attended by 70 Opening Doors’ clients.

The tea party evoked memories of how times had changed during her reign.

Christine Turner from the Harrogate Easier Living Project explained: “We know our clients, many of whom have lived in Harrogate all their lives, have fascinating stories to tell.

“In today’s busy world, people often don’t take the time to listen or indeed ask about their stories. We thought it would be a great idea to approach St Aidan’s so that these stories are shared and enjoyed by younger people.”

Hannah Strickland, teacher of History, added: “Having studied social history throughout the year, it has been a very valuable experience for our students to hear these tales first hand.

“The guests’ experiences of historical events, such as wartime evacuation, has brought history alive for many of our students who until now had only read about these events.”

The students spent time before breaking up for the summer holidays collating the photos and stories of the day to create a montage of their work, which will be displayed in the school library.

HELP’s Opening Doors service offers accompanied support to its clients, who are either older or living with disability, to make both essential trips and social outings within the local community.

For more information about their work, please call Christine or Jen on 01423 813090 or visit www.harcvs.org.uk/HELP