Important memories become a book for Jacqueline

What started out as a few notes about her memories of World War II has transformed Jacqueline Paye, from Camberley, into a published author.

Mrs Paye wrote Teddy Bears and Doodlebugs, a collection of first-hand memories of World War II written from the perspective of an eight year old child. But the notes were written for the benefit of her family and it was never her intention to write a book.

Mrs Paye, who lives with her husband Anthony at Churchill Retirement Living’s Stokes Lodge in Camberley, explains: “When I was growing up I had two elderly uncles who fought in World War I. We all knew that they were there but no one really asked or learned about their experiences before it was too late. It occurred to me that this must happen quite a lot. Most generations leave it too late to learn about their elderly relatives’ important or cultural experiences.

“I was eight when World War II began. I lived in North London and I have some very clear memories of its sights and sounds. I thought I would write them down for my family in case they asked to know more – or at least if they didn’t it would be there for the future.

“One day a piano pupil of mine told me she was doing a project on World War II and I said I might be able to help and gave her my notes to take home and read. The next lesson her mother came in clutching the notes and said how much they had enjoyed them and suggested that I should get them published. I had never even considered it, but her enthusiasm started me on the road to publication.”

Mrs Paye had her memoirs published and all 3,000 books sold. Many are in libraries and schools and of course there is a copy in the Owners' Lounge at Stokes Lodge.

She said: “I do feel quite proud of it actually. It’s lovely to think schools are using it to learn about what life was like during the war. I have also had some very nice comments from the other Owners here at Stokes Lodge – people are finding it very interesting.”

Stokes Lodge is a collection of 61 one and two bedroom privately owned retirement apartments and shared facilities, designed exclusively for the over 60s. Offering quality retirement accommodation and safe and independent living, the development is in a convenient location close to local shops and amenities. 

With less to worry about, Owners have more time to do the things they enjoy, including taking advantage of the host of other benefits which are on offer, such as having family or friends to stay in the development’s well-appointed Guest Suite, enjoying a chat with neighbours, or attending one of the many events in the Owners’ Lounge.

For more information about the apartments and lifestyle on offer at Stokes Lodge, please call 01276 862 309.