An elderly resident at Yorkshire Housing’s Parkfield Court scheme in Leeds wowed young people with Second World War stories at a party last week.
Shelia Bostridge (pictured), 91, attended the event organised by teenagers doing their National Citizen Service.
There was music and dancing, a quiz, games and party food in the lounge and garden areas of the sheltered housing scheme in Seacroft.
Shelia, originally from Kettering, was only a child when war broke out in 1939 and was living in the Northamptonshire countryside.
“I remember the air raids,” she said. “There were two bombing raids near where we lived as there was a limestone mine and we think they were trying to hit that.”
This was before precision-guided munitions and Shelia added: “I don’t think they hit anything. One bomb landed in my dad’s allotment across the road.”
Looking after neighbours was important at a time of national crisis and some facilities were communal.
Sheila said: “Where we lived, there were two houses and we had to have a gate in the fence because the air raid shelter was in our garden.
“Our neighbours had to come through the gate when the air raid sirens went off to get to the shelter.”
Shelia was around 16 when the war ended in 1945 and became an office worker at the William Timpson shoe factory in Kettering.
She met husband Alan and moved with him to London, where she continued working for William Timpson until retirement.
The couple have three children Stephen, who now lives in Leeds, plus Andrew and Timothy.
Shelia moved to Leeds and Yorkshire Housing’s Parkfield Court recently to be closer to Stephen and her grandchildren and great grandchildren after Alan sadly passed away.
These were among the stories that fascinated teenagers doing their National Citizen Service at the scheme, which is off South Parkway.
The pupils, drawn from schools across Leeds, visited Parkway Court for their project on three successive Mondays.
Fionnuala Edwards (pictured), 16, was among the ten participants and she said they went on two residential visits before attending Parkway Court.
These were for outdoor activities in Wolverhampton and then team building, public speaking and creative writing skills at student residences in Leeds.
This gave them the confidence to approach residents at Parkway Court and get them involved in the project.
She added: “One of the biggest things I noticed on the project is that the stereotypes about the differences between the youth and the elderly are completely false.
“There’s no difference between us at all. Everyone was laughing and having fun together. It was like there was no age gap at all.”
Fionnuala has just finished her studies at Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School in Meanwood.
She is going on to study A-Level politics, geography and English language at Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College in Leeds.
Fionnuala added: “It turns out that some of the others from the group are also going to Notre Dame.
“So it’s been really helpful to build a foundation of friendships among people we’re going to be with over the next few months.”