Sheffield pensioner shares life stories with residents

Liz Calssens has lived a full and eventful life for 85 years and always knew she had a story she needed to share.

However, it was only when staff and volunteers at Sheffield charity Sheffcare stepped in to help that Liz’s dream became a reality.

And now her volume of memories is being used throughout the organisation to encourage other conversations about peoples’ lives and experiences.

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Liz, a resident at Burnt Tree Croft, St Philip's Road, Netherthorpe, said: “Writing my thoughts and memories down gave me a chance to relive parts of my life and release these thoughts. It allowed me to put things into prospective and share parts of my world with others. I am delighted that so many other people are now able to enjoy the stories I have to tell.”

She started writing her memories but as the story progressed, she realised she would need assistance, which is where Kathryn Rawling, Sheffcare’s volunteer coordinator, stepped in, offering to type up the memoirs in her own time.

Kathryn said: “It was fascinating to learn more about life in Sheffield during the War years.

“Liz would make regular references to dates and events and In an effort to make to book accurate I would check these details. I was thrilled that time after time her memory was completely correct.

“I was very impressed to say the least.

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“I learnt so much about the city that I had been born and bred in.

“I become more and more committed to doing justice to the work that Liz had done, so I added an appendix to each interesting section providing yet more facts and details, to enable the reader to find out even more and then added photographs to illustrate the content.”

It was only after all that work was done though that Kathryn spotted the potential for the story’s use throughout Sheffcare.

Activity workers at all 10 Sheffcare homes were provided with a copy to stimulate conversation during group reading and reminiscence sessions.

Kathryn said: “This was a lovely thought for Liz too, as it meant her memories would hold a legacy.”

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