Family matters: That’s life - and yours is worth recording

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THEY say that everybody has a book in them.

Two women who are hoping this theory holds water are Angela Donnelly and Sara Green, creators of new workshop: Forget Me Not.

Sara Green and Angela Donnelly look through old pictures as they encourage people to write their lifestories

Sara Green and Angela Donnelly look through old pictures as they encourage people to write their lifestories

Forget Me Not encourages people to pen their life story, recording important events and funny anecdotes for the next generations of your family.

“Forget Me Not is all about leaving a piece of yourself for your children and grandchildren – something that can be passed down,” said Sara, co-director of SA Heritage.

“This is not aimed just at people who’ve got an incredible and unique story to tell – every life is incredible in its own way and worth telling.”

The Sheffield pair dreamed up the unusual enterprise over a cup of coffee after they had a chance meeting last year.

Angela Donnelly looking through old pictures as she tries to  encourage people to write their lifestories

Angela Donnelly looking through old pictures as she tries to encourage people to write their lifestories

“We got chatting and quickly realised how much we had in common,” said Angela, aged 48.

“We both lost both our parents fairly early on in life and have regretted the lost stories and memories that we can’t get back.

“Our parents never found the time to jot down details of their lives and one day it was too late,” said Angela, who lost her mum three days before the birth of her son.

Sara, now aged 45, lost her mum when she was 27 and her dad six years later.

Sara Green from Millhouses who is encouraging people to write their lifestories

Sara Green from Millhouses who is encouraging people to write their lifestories

“Losing them so young has given me a strong sense of history and wanting to see my family stories carried on,” said Sara, who has five children of her own.

“The experiences we each have are unique and no-one can tell them the way we can.”

The pair will be launching the first of their six-week-courses on May 9 at Ranmoor Parish Centre.

“Our expertise is in talking to people and drawing out details,” explained Angela.

“We want to motivate people and help them to start getting it all down and in some kind of order.

“We quickly realised six weeks wasn’t going to be much time but we see this course as an introduction and if people get into it they may want to sign on for longer.”

62-year-old Hazel Holden has already signed up for the workshop.

After 17 years travelling the world, she moved back to England in 1989 and now – with her parents gone, her partner gone and no children to carry on her stories – she wants to take the time to write out her life adventures.

“I’ve had an interesting life,” smiled Hazel, who now lives in Lodge Moor, Sheffield.

“I’ve started to write it a thousand times but without someone there motivating me and giving me some sense of order and how I should be going about it, I get disheartened.

“I think Forget Me Not is exactly the kick-up-the-bum I’ve been looking for.

“This is something I want to do for me – to show I really lived and everything I did.”

Sara and Angela say their strength lies in the fact that they’re both genuinely interested in people’s stories.

“I think our problem is going to be wrapping up the sessions as I bet it’ll be hard to stop once we all get chatting,” laughed Sara.

“After all, we all love to talk about ourselves – I know I do!”

In fact both Sara and Angela are taking their own advice and have already started writing their own life stories.

“There’s something so exciting about mapping out your life in words.

“It’s the only way we have of saying ‘Look, I was here, I did this, don’t forget me!’” Angela explained.

“It’s therapeutic as well,” added Sara.

“Sometimes when I’m writing about my parents I find myself in floods of tears, but I always feel better afterwards and I have something to show for it.”

The duo also emphasised that it’s never too early to start writing about your life.

“We wouldn’t say this is just for people in a particular age bracket – it’s not all about mortality” said Angela.

“I encourage my children to write stories now and if they go on holiday I give them each a journal and they love reading them back later.”

“There’s nothing children love more than hearing stories about themselves,” Sara agreed.

“They adopt them as their own, embellish them slightly and they become a part of your family history.”

If you would like to find out more about Forget Me Not, call Sara on 07890 494235 or email Angela on angeladonnelly10@btinternet.com