It was going to be a busy day, although we had no youngsters in residence during the week before Christmas I nevertheless found myself on our bus going to Cardiff to collect ten children we were going to borrow for the day. The Jane Hodge Holiday Home (where I worked) needed photographs for a new publicity leaflet and 18th December 1969 was the day the photographer was visiting to accomplish this task. The manager at the home must have arranged with the local school for disabled youngsters to select ten children whose parents would give permission for their offspring to be shown on the leaflet.
It had been snowing and it was quite cold and upon arrival at the school we found the ten youngsters, three boys and seven girls, ready and waiting for the twelve-mile journey back to Trerhyngyll; I knew six of them, they had previously spent a holiday with us, but we also had four who I hadn’t met before. The spirit of the travellers was jovial and upon arrival a decision was made to take photographs outside on the tractor and buggy before doing all the internal activity shots and you can see one of those pictures on the illustration of the leaflet. I’m not sure who the member of staff is that’s shown on the tractor photo, it isn’t me, the mists of time have clouded my memory.
The next batch of photos were taken at the hydro-therapy pool and on the leaflet you can see the roundabout that was driven by compressed air, the three boys relishing a ride. In reality the roundabout was a bit unstable and although it had six seats it had to be balanced carefully and weight distributed evenly. We tended to use it only for the lightest youngsters. The photographer also captured some of the girls playing with the “Teddy Bears Picnic”.
In this photograph you can see a very youthful me on the right attending the youngsters at lunchtime . This photograph was not used in the leaflet and somehow I have managed to acquire some of the original prints. The photo that was used does show me in the background attending to one of the young girls who was just about to be suddenly very ill and soon after the picture was taken collapsed into an epileptic seizure which became life-threatening. With no time to wait for an ambulance she was rushed by car to Cardiff where an arranged, waiting police car at Culverhouse Cross escorted them to the hospital. Emergency treatment in hospital saved her and she subsequently visited us on many occasions in the following years.
As the youngsters all had to be back in school for home-time they were transported back soon after lunch, minus one, and this time also without me, another member of staff travelling with them. Below are the two sides of the A4 tri-fold leaflet which we used for the following years until the home closed through lack of funds in September 1974. Now forty or more years later, I’m really glad of the notebooks I kept of the six years I worked at the home, they are invaluable in assisting my memories of that period.