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Arthur Cannings 1971-1979

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Arthur Cannings who lived in Shortstown as a young boy back in the 70's. He now lives in Stowmarket but very kindly agreed to meet up in Shortstown to share his memories. Arthur lived here between 1971 and 1979 firstly in Eastcote and then in North Drive.

His father was a civilian worker who worked at Chicksands where many residents of Shortstown worked at the time. He remembers Mr Evans the headmaster at Shortstown Lower School and to my surprise he mentioned that there used to be a raised swimming pool there which disappeared many years ago.* He also remembered that in the school reception area was a model of an airship. He recalls being very excited as a child when his classroom was shut down for a while for some building work and the children had to take a bus from the school to temporary classrooms on the camp. He also recalls a small play area at the edge of the current school playground which had swings and a slide and he remembers the NAAFI prefab shop which was on the site of the now old shop. He recalls most people thought the

shop was expensive but he used to buy chewing gum from an outside machine that took the old 6d pieces and get told off by his parents for wasting his money. This didn't put him off though and he went back on many occasions!

His father Eddie Cannings was a committee member at the RAW club and Arthur recalls childrens discos were held there on Monday or Tuesday evenings and the children from Cotton End would also come along to these. He recalls that though they were not always in sight whenever kids did anything wrong the military police would suddenly appear from nowhere and give the kids a ticking off! It seems strange to think that military police once patrolled our streets but this was all part of the connection to RAF Cardington.

Arthur went on to say that the men on the camp were very kind to children and would give them wood and wheels and help them to make go-carts in the summer holidays. He also recalls two scout huts on the corner of Concorde Place and Sterling Road - these were former RAF huts given over to the scouts. A while after Arthur left the village in 1979 he heard that these two huts had been burnt down.

One final memory in 1977 there was great excitement across at the camp where celebrations took place to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the site and the Queens Silver Jubilee. One of the sheds was open to the public and the Red Arrows also put in an appearance. All in all not a bad childhood!

Thanks to Arthur Cannings for these memories.

* If you have any photographs of the school or swimming pool or any other pictures of Shortstown please send them in. Many thanks.

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