Daphne's life of love, war and tortoises in Norfolk
The team behind the Network Norfolk website and the Good News for Norfolk newspaper recently completed their first Life Story commission, an engaging and entertaining memoir ‘Love, War and Tortoises’ that captures the highs and lows of 88-year old Daphne Dennis from Norwich.
Earlier this year, the team behind the long-standing newspaper and the Network Norfolk website launched Life Stories, a new initiative helping people turn their memories into a well written, professionally printed paperback booklet.
The first Life Story, ‘Love, War and Tortoises: A Short Biography of Daphne Ruth Dennis,’ came back from the printers in August. Since then Daphne has been delighted to receive a request for the short book to be included in the records of the Norfolk Heritage Centre.
In around 10,000 words, it tells the life story of Daphne Dennis from Thorpe St Andrew, capturing her humour, her love of people and animals, and significant episodes that have shaped her life. Talking about the booklet, Daphne, who attends Heartsease Lane Methodist Church, said: “I’m ever so pleased with what you did. It’s ideal for me – just what I wanted.”
Growing up amidst a tight-knit family in Norwich’s Sussex Street, Daphne’s story tells of the devastation caused by the bombings of 1942 which destroyed her school and led to her evacuation to Lincolnshire. She recalls leaving a school she passionately disliked, finding work at the EDP and interviewing celebrities such as Val Doonican.
She recounts the joys and anguishes of motherhood and a lifelong love of animals that led to a sanctuary for neglected tortoises.
Writing has always been one of Daphne’s talents and pastimes, and over the years she had chronicled many of her memories in both poetry and narrative. Life Stories ghost writer, Jenny Seal, took these writings, along with additional stories recounted during their conversations, to create a unique and captivating life story.
Jenny said: “Working with Daphne to produce this short biography has been so enjoyable. I have learnt a lot about Norwich during the war, how to care for tortoises and the power of memory. Daphne has lived a full life, and the good-humoured way she writes and talks will engage readers of any age.”
The Life Stories team can capture your story through a series of one-to-one interviews, resulting in multiple copies of a professionally edited A5 paperback book with a glossy colour picture cover, back and centre pages.
To find out more about this biography-writing service visit www.lifestories.org.uk, email Keith at web@networknorwich or call 07712 787762.
Photo: Daphne Dennis in her Norwich garden with the Life Story book and dog Ruby.