Our hour-long Live Wires groups always pass very quickly as each person offers their interpretation of the book we are reading that month. We all find it to be an informative, intelligent, uplifting and often amusing experience!

I think the book that I enjoyed the most was Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea by Michael Morpurgo. It contained so many themes and ideas for discussion whilst, at the same time, touching the emotions without sentimentality.

As a former secondary school English teacher, I enjoy the research, planning and preparation of the Live Wires book group meetings in order to ensure that each person is brought into the discussion and their views valued.

As a beneficiary, myself, I wanted to share my skills with others as a token of gratitude to the charity.

One of our members was a nurse involved with children being sent to Canada and Australia (one of the themes of the novel Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea). It was really interesting to hear her description of how the children were chosen for the Children’s Emigration Scheme (1870 until 1957) to each country - many of whom were separated from their siblings at departure, never to meet again. We also learned of the devastating effect this procedure had on the nursing staff – even to this day!

A very moving moment was when two of our members - who had been raised in Dr Barnado’s homes - responded to the reading of Constance by Rosie Thomas by recounting their individual memories of being in children’s homes and foster homes.

The funniest book we have ever read was Gervase Phinn’s Out of the Woods but not Over the Hill. The hilarious - though sometimes poignant - events he experienced as a Schools Inspector left us laughing until we cried!

Also, the viewing of the film The Quartet was, again, a classic mixture of humour and sadness at their best! Great actors; a superb setting; an interesting script and imaginative directing by Dustin Hoffman.

The book we are currently reading is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I’ve given the group some pointers to guide them through the linear plot and a very lively discussion will definitely be enjoyed by all at the end of February!

Find out more about Live Wires or sign up as a volunteer Live Wires facilitator

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