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World Book Day

Homeowner enters short story competition for World Book Day and captures the humorous side of her time as a young chambermaid in the early 1960s.

Hobbies and interests
Posted 02 March 2021
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Remembering Past Times In Darlington For World Book Day

A Darlington homeowner has put pen to paper as part of a short story competition for World Book Day, where she has captured some of the humorous events and goings on during her time as a young chambermaid to a wealthy family in the early 1960s.  


Anne Cuckow, 81, entered the competition at the McCarthy Stone Retirement Living development, Swinden Court where she lives with her husband Denis of over 30 years. Thrilled to have been named the winner Anne entered the competition as a good way to beat the lockdown boredom and to celebrate her love of reading and writing in the lead-up to World Book Day.   

Having chosen to write her own personal story instead of a fictional one, she was surprised to find how thoroughly entertaining it was recalling some of the famous guests that stayed at the stately home where she worked. This included everyone from Katharine, Duchess of Kent, to Fanny Craddock and even, in her words, “a Lord of the Realm who was very eccentric indeed”.  

Anne comments: “I really enjoyed the process of getting involved in the competition. It was my husband Denis that encouraged me to do it. I was a young lady of 25 when I went there. I could go on forever about all the funny and not so funny things that happened to me during my six years there, especially during the spring cleaning - some of them quite rude! 

“This time to pause and reflect on my past has given my husband and me a great many laughs. I’m so pleased McCarthy Stone decided to do the competition and even more thrilled to have won. It’s been great while I have been shielding during this time to keep my mind active, which is why as well as reading I try and do lots of puzzles and jigsaw and Sudoku’s.”  

Alli Lamb, House Manager at Swinden Court said: “Anne is such a terrific person. Her story of her time as a chambermaid was really funny and gave everyone a real insight into what her life must have been like back then. The family she worked for sound like a very interesting bunch and her words just jumped off the page which is why we chose her as our winner.  

“The past year has been very challenging for all of us here at Swinden Court and as staff we have been doing our best to keep spirits high and everyone feeling engaged and connected throughout. We are feeling really optimistic about the future now and our homeowners are looking forward to when they can socialise and meet again as we have such a great and supportive community here.” 

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