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Helston Children's Home reunion plan sparks memories
9:00am Monday 24th February 2014 in News
News that three former residents of Helston Children’s Home hope to arrange a reunion for anyone connected has prompted memories in the community.
Among them is Sheila Mugford, who was a resident of the children’s home from the age of four, arriving in 1939 to 1940 with her sister Eileen.
Now aged 75 and living in Truro, she told the Packet: “I can’t complain [about my time there].
“There were two sisters – “upstairs mother” and “downstairs mother” we used to call them.”
She became particularly close to “upstairs mother”, the late Kathleen Northcott, who allowed Sheila to stay on an extra six months, despite reaching the leaving age of 15, as she was studying nursing at the Helston Cottage Hospital over the road.
Kathleen even attended Sheila’s wedding and later her daughter’s wedding, and was the first one to see Sheila’s son when he was born.
“I’ve got a lot to thank her for,” said Sheila.
She remembers the outbreak of World War II and having a child’s “Mickey Mouse” gas mask. Although not resembling the cartoon character – unlike the American version, designed by Walt Disney – the name was intended to make it less scary for small children to wear.
She also remembers parties thrown by the neighbouring RNAS Culdrose naval base at Christmas, which other former residents have also commented on.
Although initially only a home for girls, it later took in boys.
Sheila remembers brothers Frank and Brian North – the latter of which later went to Australia – who she used to look after, comforting them at night when they suffered nightmares.
There were 24 children living in the home at any one time.
Enid Johns (nee Kneebone), from Helston, remembers attending the Wesleyan Day School in Penrose Road with young girls from the home, which opened in 1936 and closed in the latter part of the century.
She supplied this photograph that shows her year group in front of the infants’ classroom, in approximately 1936/1937.
Any former residents or staff of the home in Casterills Road, who would be interested in attending a reunion in Helston later in the year, can register their interest via the Packet by calling news editor Emma Ferguson on 01326 213341 or by emailing email@example.com