A PENSIONER has put pen to paper to recall her days as a young chambermaid to a wealthy family in the 1960s.

Darlington woman Anne Cuckow, 81, wrote her memories for a short story competition organised for World Book Day.

She recalled some of the famous guests that stayed at the stately home where she worked – including Katharine, Duchess of Kent, and Fanny Cradock.

Her entry won the competition organised at Swindon Court, a retirement living development run by McCarthy Stone, where she lives with her husband Denis.

Mrs Cuckow said: “I really enjoyed the process of getting involved in the competition. It was my husband Denis that encouraged me to do it. I was a young lady of 25 when I went there. I could go on forever about all the funny and not so funny things that happened to me during my six years there, especially during the spring cleaning - some of them quite rude!

“This time to pause and reflect on my past has given my husband and me a great many laughs."

" I’m so pleased McCarthy Stone decided to do the competition and even more thrilled to have won. It’s been great while I have been shielding during this time to keep my mind active, which is why as well as reading I try and do lots of puzzles and jigsaw and sudokus.”

Alli Lamb, house manager at Swinden Court said: “Anne is such a terrific person. Her story of her time as a chambermaid was really funny and gave everyone a real insight into what her life must have been like back then. The family she worked for sound like a very interesting bunch and her words just jumped off the page which is why we chose her as our winner.

“The past year has been very challenging for all of us here at Swinden Court and as staff we have been doing our best to keep spirits high and everyone feeling engaged and connected throughout.

"We are feeling really optimistic about the future now and our homeowners are looking forward to when they can socialise and meet again as we have such a great and supportive community here.”