Olive’s parents were members of the Brethren. Alan, her brother, had fallen off his bike and had a serious head injury. After a while, it was suggested that the two children – Olive and Alan – went to Belgrave House for some recuperation during the early Summer. Olive had never been away from home before.
Belgrave House had a huge garden in which the children were allowed to play. They had to attend lots of meetings which, as a child, they found quite boring! There was a large hall which was treated like a church – it was not like Sunday school – more adult like.
Nurse Todd was a real dear. She was in charge of bedtimes and would often read the children bedtime stories and say their prayers with them. She would take the children to the beach where they would write bible verses in the sand with the spades they were given. They were allowed to paddle in the sea, but didn’t swim as they had no costumes.
On Sundays, they marched in a crocodile from Belgrave House to the Brethren Assembly Hall in Argyll Road – what seemed quite a distance to the children. They enjoyed these meetings as this was what Olive and Alan were used to at home.
The house was quite near the seafront, but as it was quite soon after the war, things were a little overgrown. The bedrooms were quite large and housed several girls. There were iron bedsteads and bay windows. Some of the girls chatted about their experiences in hospital – they had been sent to Belgrave House to convalesce.
There were quite a few children at Belgrave House – the oldest girls were about 13 or 14 with the oldest boys being 9 or 10. The youngest boy appeared to be about 6 years old. The adults were all loving people and very kind. Mr Maddox and his wife ran the house and had a daughter (Mary). Olive was fascinated by his accent and remembers that he always blew a whistle.
As an adult, Olive took a group of children, including her own daughter Sara, to Climping Camp. When she was asked to support her grandson as an ITP, she had no idea it was the same organisation that she and her brother had been to all those years ago!