A lifelong resident of Elton and member of its parish church has used her rich memories of the past to help build for the future. In 2001 she wrote a book entitled "The Way We Were", in which she recalls her own younger days and the people and events of old Elton, in order to raise funds for the new All Saints Church and Parish Centre.
The author is 84 year old Alice Latimer of Merton Street, a well-known and much-respected figure in the community. As readers of her moving and at times highly amusing little book discover, she has spent all her life in the area, her younger days in a home that was materially poor but rich in love and very happy. Alice has also worked extremely hard throughout her life, as a child in and around the home and as an adult for 45 years as a weaver, a housewife and a mother.
Being taken to All Saints Church is one of Alice's earliest memories and she is still among the congregation's most loyal members - although these days, following the closure of the church, worship is at the St Francis House Church in Brandlesholme.
Like many others Alice was deeply saddened by the demise of the old church which became unsafe. But she is also among those who realized that it was in the wrong place for the majority of today's parishioners. So she has always supported its relocation to the more central site in Hebburn Drive where a brand new and multi-purpose Church and Parish Centre are to be built. Sufficient funds have now become available for the first phase of this project and building work began in July 2007.
And for Alice this cannot be soon enough. My book, she says, is my way of helping raise the money we need. My target was £500, she continues, adding, but I was flabbergasted to be told that so far it has made over £2,200! Copies have not only been selling locally like hot cakes, but have gone to Alice's friends and former parishioners around the world! We're so pleased for Alice, says the Rev'd Stuart Millington, priest-in-charge of the parish, she has worked so hard both in writing her book and in promoting it. She deserves her success - and I'm sure it's not over yet. The book is Alice's way of celebrating the wonderful past that this community has enjoyed, Stuart continues, yet it is also helping to build a much-needed provision for what we hope will be an equally rich future.
Here are a few extracts from Alice's popular book "The Way We Were":
When our clogs needed new irons, which was quite often, as all us kids used to strike one clog on the side to see who could make the biggest sparks, there were two cloggers on Crostons Road. Charles Eddie Hill and the Co-op, but if one kid had to go to get their clogs ironed, we would all troop off to Bolton Road where two brothers had a clog and shoe repair shop. There was always a brazier in the room where you could sit round on two benches on either side, oh it was lovely on a cold winters day to feel the heat off the fire.
We had gas mantles in our first house, they were very fragile and you had to be very careful when lighting them with a wax taper, you had to pull a short chain down and then light the mantle with the taper, to put the light out you had to pull another chain on the opposite side.
Everyone used to leave coal money, window money, rent money, club money etc. on books on a sideboard or table for the collectors to just come and take the money, put it in your book and his book. Doors could be left open all night and when you got up the following morning everything would be as it was the night before.
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