A Horsham pensioner who turns 90 this week has shared her memories of growing up in Rusper including her wartime experiences.
Pamela Brewster, who lives in Gilligan Close off Blackbridge Lane and will celebrate her 90th birthday on Friday March 21, grew up in Dial Post Farm in Rusper as an only child with her parents Nelson and Olive Manners.
The family lived and worked on a dairy farm, rented from Lord and Lady Hurst from the 1930s.
Days on the farm were hard work and while Pamela enjoyed most of it, she looked forward to rare occasions when she was allowed out dancing.
Her father was a member of the ‘21 Club’, a group of Horsham businessmen who met in the Swan pub in the town centre, and was given a set of horseshoes used by racehorse Mid-Day Sun, reputedly the ones he wore to win the 1937 Epsom Derby, a memento that has been passed on to Pamela.
During the Second World War the farm’s big Dutch barn was often mistaken for a hangar for Gatwick by German bombers.
Pamela added: “They circled around us and pelted us with incendiary bombs. The hay caught fire and the fire service arrived and we thought we are going to get bombed any minute, but we were never scared.” Rusper Road was barricaded, and Nelson even got his gun ready as they prepared for a possible German invasion.
She still has several brass shells recovered from the dogfights, polished and on her mantelpiece.
She married Fred Attfield, whom she first met when he visited the farm selling cattle food, and moved to Horsham to start a family.
“It was such a gruelling time on the farm I wanted to be by the shops and see life a bit.”
Fred died in the 1970s, while her second husband Gerry Brewster passed away recently.
She has discovered a love of painting flowers and has several finished pictures hanging in her front room.
“I just get into that painting and I’m completely lost when I pick up a paint brush.”
While the fine lines might be a challenge with her eyesight, she uses a magnifying glass that she herself gave to her father, which he used to pick out which racehorses to bet on.
Pamela has two living children Jane Duval and John Attfield, seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
She has a recent County Times back page proudly displayed in her home, which announced her grandson Sam Attfield as the new captain of Horsham Cricket Club, and hoped one day to see him play in a Test match.
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