Our first response.

There’s a note from the office.

Just had a call from Michael Burns (80)He lived through the war in the forest as a child and has lots of memories…couldn’t stop him talking! Very happy to meet with people for a cup of tea and talk through his memories.

Our first response to the call-out ad we placed in the local newspaper.

I call the number.


“Hi. You called us about the ‘Secret Forest’ project we’re doing..?’

‘Oh, yes..’

‘Are you still happy to talk to us about your memories?’

‘Yes, of course’

And we’re off! I find out he lives less than a 2 minute walk from my parents’ house. Ideal for the first meeting. Turns out the memories really are on our doorstep, if you just look for it.

I arrive with my list of questions for the meeting. Armed with my recording device.

Michael’s dug out all sorts of documents as well as a hand-drawn map of where he used to live – in Broadwell, between two prisoner of war camps.

I quickly realise the memory recollection for him started as soon as the phone went down in our previous conversation. He’s ready to talk. He’s ready to share his life. Right now. With me, right here. I feel a sense of responsibility, a pressure not to miss anything which might be the golden nugget which unlocks this whole project. I take a deep breath and heed Craig’s advice;

‘If they want to talk, just let them’. I breathe. And…I listen…’

A plentiful flow of golden nuggets follows.



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