Airmen invite to final Sheringham reunion

A special group of much-loved guests are being called upon to attend the final reunion of Sheringham children's home.

Former residents have been meeting bi-annually for the previous 12 years and will return to Norfolk for the last time this weekend (Sept 10/11).

But organisers are hoping to make their last reunion the most memorable by extending the invitation to any surviving American airmen who were based at Sculthorpe, and used to visit the youngsters in Sheringham.

Ray Hawkins, who lived at the home from 1949 - 1961, is among the organisers particularly keen to trace the airmen.

He said: 'They'd come up to visit us, they'd give us presents and they treated us to days out. And we were allowed to chew gum when we were with them! We would normally go to the base either at Lakenheath or Sculthorpe and they'd treat us to parties and tea and things like that.

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'We'd really love to see one of them because there may well be some people living in Sheringham from there, because I believe some of the servicemen got married (locally).'

Youngsters from all over were sent to the home, which looked after children who had been orphaned or abandoned. They attended the village primary school and lived between the two properties in 'families'.

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Mr Hawkins, 65, who came to Sheringham from Leicestershire, explained: 'There were 30 children in one and 30 in another consisting of three families, which were named after towns in Norfolk. The one I was in was Bury St Edmunds, others were Ipswich, Kings Lynn, Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth.'

Mr Hawkins left Sheringham as a teenager and went to find work in London in electronics. But he returned to Norfolk where he has remained and now lives in Rollesby near Great Yarmouth.

'Norfolk is what I term as my roots because that's where I spent all of my childhood and that's where all my memories are,' he added. 'It stays with you all your life.'

* The reunion is being held on September 10 and 11 at St Andrew's Church hall in Cromer Road, Sheringham from 10am each day. Former residents, staff, carers and school friends are all invited.

* For more information call Mr Hawkins on 01493 740406.

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