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by cornwallcsv

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

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18 November 2005

This story has been added to the website by BBC CSV Producer Nina Davey on behalf of the author Jessie Power. The author understands the site's terms and conditions.

I was Cornwall County Champion Swimmer as a teenager. I won the quarter mile championships, had my son, went back and won it again. I was widowed at 22. My husband Freddy Wallis from Falmouth was killed with three friends in a car crash in Lanner outside the Coppice Inn. I worked in the Crysede factory in St Ives.

When the evacuees came to Hayle I decided to teach them to enjoy swimming as much as I did. I had one evacuee JULIO VECIDOMINE (sounds like veachydomminy), he was about 8 years old. I had two children of my own Trevor and Jill. Julio thought they were his brother and sister.

I'd take the evacuees to Undercliff in Hayle and Cop Pool Carnsew down on the whear (we still go there), to learn to swim. Julio loved it and one day when he had chickenpox he disappeared - he'd gone off swimming!

I was teaching MERVYN SULLIVAN the painter to swim and he got into difficulty, he had a knitted costume on and I pulled his straps which just got longer and he was still under the water. He remembers it to this day!

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