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Laurie Lee's heroine is still Rosie

Rosie Rosie - says nothing really happened underneath the wagon on that summer's day

Last updated: 30 November 2004 1343 GMT
lineMost people presume Rosie - from Cider With Rosie - is no longer with us, but she's very much alive and well, and living in Cheltenham...
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GCSE Bitesize - Cider With Rosie

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quoteMost people think Rosie is no longer with us but she's very much alive and well - in her 90s now - and fit as a fiddle.quote
Mark Cummings

The classic tale 'Cider With Rosie', which many students read for their GCSE English Literature exam, is based in Stroud's Slad valley, and is a true tale about the life of the late Laurie Lee.

The story is set in 1917 and draws upon the innocence of rural Cotswold life at the beginning of the last century.

Laurie Lee
Laurie Lee

In the novel, Lee recalls his childhood memories, thoughts, feelings and family life

Central character

The central character Rosie is one the most well-known literary heroines in modern literature, but did you know that today she's alive and well and living in Cheltenham?

Rosie - doesn't like cider

BBC Radio Gloucestershire's Mark Cummings went to interview Rosie recently, and was thrilled to meet her.

Said Mark: "Most people think Rosie is no longer with us but she's very much alive and well - in her 90s now - and fit as a fiddle. It was a pleasure to meet her."

"She claims nothing really happened underneath the wagon that summer's day [in that famous passage from the book].

"She assures me she never took a sip of cider and that Laurie Lee was prone to exaggeration."

Good friends

Rosie - or Rosalind as she prefers to be known - remained good friends with Laurie Lee right up to his death in 1997.

Cider With Rosie book cover
Classic literature - Cider with Rosie

She married a policeman and moved around Gloucestershire, finally settling in Cheltenham.

She was bombarded with national press interest in the 1970s when she finally went public and admitted she was "Rosie", although to her astonishment someone else claimed to be the real Rosie.

Mark Cummings said: "I took a bottle of cider as a gift hoping we could share a slurp on her sofa, but to my bitter disappointment she hates the stuff! She made me a cup of tea instead."

audioClick here to listen to Mark Cummings' interview with Rosie that was broadcast on BBC Radio Gloucestershire on Wednesday 24th November 2004.
To listen to audio content on the BBC you will need to have a program called RealPlayer installed on your computer. Download it for FREE by clicking here)

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