Colchester Memory Afternoons at Lion Walk Activity Centre: Playtime

The rain was pouring outside but we had warmth and sunshine at the Lion Walk Activity Centre where the latest 'Memory Afternoon' was gathered to share stories of their younger days and the games they enjoyed.

Head to the bottom of this article for the audio version

There was a little hesitation, but the benefits of sharing with each other were immediate. Straight away the first participant was being encouraged and supported.

It's one of the benefits that I get great pleasure in observing while documenting these events; people are there to enjoy the tales that are being shared but they are also forming bonds of friendship and are awakening memories thought lost in those who attend. Take Dave for example, while listening to Marina's story of late-night card games he offered his sincerer thanks as he recalled playing the same game in his youth.


Dave had a motorbike accident when he was a young man and as such had lost many of his memories of his youth, however, the benefits of his involvement in 'Memorie Afternoons' and through the support of his family, he had managed to regain snippets of his life which he feared had been lost forever. Before that day he was ignorant of this obscure-sounding card game, but now he was able to recall the rules in such detail. It was astounding to witness.

We also heard of some of the schoolyard games that were played, with 'Kiss chase' being fondly remembered as well as French skipping.

There was also 40's inspired entertainment with 'Air-raid Jive' demonstrating some period dancing and managing to get Mr Warm & Toasty himself, Johnno Casson to show off his moves.

For a day that was so wet and miserably, this edition of the 'Memory Afternoons' probably contained the most laughter.

This is also the first documented 'Memory Afternoons' since it was announced that 'The Warm & Toasty Club' had won The Peoples Projects and the £50,000 to ensure that older people benefit from a dedicated venue to have a 'Memory Afternoon' once a week for a whole year.

I have seen first hand how important these events are to those that attend and I'm glad to see that the people of East Anglia have supported them in their mission to rid the older generation of social isolation, document their memories and just have a great time as well.

We will be back!