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16 October 2014

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Blackpool Revisited

By Selina Kerrell
October 2001, Newport
A digital story from Capture Wales

Family holiday

Selina tells us how family holidays can help strengthen the bonds between the generations.

"As a child I heard about Blackpool from my father. He was always going to take me, but never got around to it. It took 20 years and a couple of children to rekindle the desire to go north.

The closed dark valleys of 1960s South Wales with little entertainment or stimulation for the young, prompted me to take them to see what I had wanted to see, but didn't.

For the first time a little boy and girl saw a circus, a live stage show, an eye show, a town lit up with colour at night and a tower that pointed to the sky. It was all new and exciting. Now, as adults, they can recall incidents from that time.

Then, recently looking over some old photographs with my daughter-in-law I asked her if she had ever been to Blackpool.

"No. Never."

Then came the idea to revisit, taking those children's children.

My son who once sat playing on the floor in the hotel lounge, now sits drinking with his dad in a hotel lounge in the same street. In turn, he watches his son enjoying the same places he remembers: the circus performance, putting his pennies in the slot machine. Dut to work commitments my daughter could not join us, but her daughter did. She too enjoyed the slot machines and the fair.

"Can we go on this? ...or that Nanny?"

All adults become children when they visit the fair. In the eyes of the children I saw my childhood expectations realised.

Goodbye Blackpool. See you next year."

Selina Kerrell

How did you get involved with Capture Wales?
I am an ordinary British housewife looking to live a life less ordinary. A friend who worked in the same place as me said "There is a project coming up I'm sure you'll be interested in, I'll give you the details as they come to hand." That was the beginning.

Did you know what you wanted to make your story about?
After the first initial meeting with Karen and Daniel, yes I knew what my story would be and what old material I could use. It would tie in well with a holiday I had coming up shortly. I felt I wanted to make a film about family strengths, to show and educate children in a pleasant way whilst they're holidaying or out for the day. Much is retained and built upon. It survives in the memory for decades to come. The age old desire to tell tales whether in saga form or simply around the hearth or camp fire has been brought up to date. I think it will be good for oral history in the future.

How about the technology?
Well, I knew that it would interest my daughter so I asked if she'd be involved as well. What I didn't realise at the time was that she would come on the course in her own right and produce a strong and forceful story of her life experience.

How did you find the workshop?
We were a strong group in Blackwood because we trusted and shared out feelings and life experiences together. We bounced ideas off each other - we bonded in other words. Some of us knew others previously, others we made friends with quite quickly.

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