Community Biographies

These are the biographical pieces I have written for community elders via the intergenerational community engagement life writing and research project I manage, CityLife Stories. Find out more about this project under Community Engagement.

Joyriding Down The Roman, from the life of Denise Arbiso

“I’m quite shy, but my mum never was. Got on with everyone. Loved going Bingo and socialising – well known in the community, cos she would always help a struggling person out – sometimes with money, sometimes with food, sometimes just with a kind word…”

From Russia To Toynbee, With Love, from the life of Miry Mayer

“A lot of people who want to help have a fear of losing control. Often, people feel powerless. So you don’t want to feel even more powerless by being the person accepting help, instead of the one giving it…”

Bethnal Green in the Golden Days, from the life of George Freeman

“I’d collect coal from the train track sidings so we’d have something for the fire. Sometimes I’d help the milkman for half a crown, and we’d go scrumping, nicking apples from people’s gardens…”

The Best Thing Since Fried Bread, from the life of Ellen Shrimpton

“…she knew the words to every single song. Turned out she used to be a music hall artist. Just like Vesta Fay. So now they put the music on instead of doping her. Soothes her, and it’s no harm.”

The Way the Roses Smelled, from the life of John Wiggett

“I still leave my front door open these days, even though no one else does. My neighbour’s cat walks past my door. Looks at me, but doesn’t come in. I can smell the flowers outside, drifting in.”