Evacuees make nostalgic return to wartime home

Joan Lee and Brenda Routh return to primary school with relatives Lesley Smith, Elaine Ware and Andrea Lee

Joan Lee and Brenda Routh return to primary school with relatives Lesley Smith, Elaine Ware and Andrea Lee

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FORMER evacuees took an emotional trip down memory lane when they returned to two villages for the first time in more than 60 years.

Sisters Joan Lee and Brenda Routh have not visited Horbling and Billingborough since they returned to Hull in the 1940s.

Joan and her twin sister Jean, who died last year and Brenda were sent away from their parents Edith and Ernie Leckie due to fears that Hull would be bombed.

The girls, who were aged between six and 10, spent three-and-a-half years in the area.

Joan and Jean were looked after by Mr and Mrs Harris and their staff at the Manor House, Horbling.

Brenda was initially living with a Mr and Mrs Harrison in Billingborough. Later Brenda joined her sisters.

Joan, now 82, and Brenda, 76, who both lived in the Greatfield Estate, Hull, spent Saturday and Sunday catching up with old friends and visiting old haunts.

They were accompanied by Joan’s daughters Lesley Smith, Elaine Ware and Andrea Lee.

Joan said: “It was absolutely fantastic. We were made very welcome.

“There was a lot I couldn’t remember but it soon came back to me when we were looking around.”

Brenda was able to catch up with Christopher Harrison, who was the son of the couple she lived with in Billingborough.

Mr Harrison was also able to return Brenda’s identity tag from when she was first evacuated.

The sisters chatted with former classmate Ray Draper, who attended Horbling school with them.

The family visited Billingborough Primary School, St Andrew’s Church in Horbling and also walked around both villages.

Andrea, who lives in Preston, said: “My mum and aunty really enjoyed it.”