Today’s columnist, Neil Anderson: Letters from the past

Romeo and Juliets night cluib, Sheffield 1985
Romeo and Juliets night cluib, Sheffield 1985
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Helping a friend put her book together has taken me on an an amazing trip back to the ’8os and the era of Romeo’s & Juliet’s, Josephines and other nightspots .

Mary Givens, like many of us brought up in the 1980s, inadvertently recorded her life through handwritten letters, scores of them.

This was the world devoid of social media, text messaging and even phone cards (this was the high – tech way to pay for calls from public call boxes many moons ago).

Yes, there was once a time when the Royal Mail was built around posting letters rather than Paypal parcels and long-distance communication was regularly the preserve of pens, writing paper and colourful envelopes.

Mary Givens kept every one she ever wrote from the time that she was a little girl.

These include one of the earliest – a letter from Father Christmas at the much-missed Redgates toyshop – to the ones that recorded her time working in Guernsey (hordes of Sheffielders found work over there in the 1980s when unemployment figures went through the roof).

I’ve had the pleasure of helping her put together and publish Lots of Love From Sheffield.

Her letters, photos and postcards lay packed away and forgotten for many years and the book – which is set to be out at the end of October – is set to offer a unique insight into life in the 1980s.

Mary said: “This book is dedicated to all my friends who are here in its pages. Not one of them really remembers everything that happened back in the ’80s and if it wasn’t for the letters I discovered, a lot of it would certainly be long forgotten by me too.

“Without them, this little book would not have been possible. My friends are now other people’s friends too; I hope they make them as happy as they made me.”

Mary’s book is set to be launched at Eighties! The Biggest Reunion… Ever! which is set to take place at Genting Club Sheffield, on Friday, October 30.

The event is promising the sounds of the clubs of the era and is raising money for St Luke’s Hospice and Broomgrove Trust.

The event runs from 9.30pm until 2am and tickets are £10 from Genting Club Sheffield and Sic Tickets or ACM Retro