Memories of Suntrap

Waltham Forest Echo

June 2019

Author Helen Bigham promotes reviving old memories through visiting Suntrap Open Day 

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure; these are wise words. The value of my memorabilia lies not in the objects which include a child’s foot imprinted Preserving my treasured souvenirs allows me the opportunity to keep alive a memory, such as my friend guiltily gluing the broken crockery back together. My collection isn’t hidden away in a cupboard but kept on display, keeping family stories alive and reminding myself and my daughters of our roots and varied experiences.

Research has shown that the best single factor of children’s emotional health and happiness lies in them having an understanding of their heritage, helping them appreciate that they belong to something bigger than themselves. Keepsakes don’t have to be expensive or come from faraway places but instead can be found much nearer to home.

During the London Borough of Culture year in Waltham Forest we’re spoilt with a whole host of fêtes, exhibitions, workshops and fairs. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to make and create or buy from local sellers such as E17 Designers. The May Day event on Chingford Plains, a day of many seasons with a mesmerising firework and fire finale, will stay long in my memory.

Also worth remembering is that local festivals can bring us together to celebrate things that make our area special. They provide an ideal chance for people to get involved and bring their connections, collective knowledge, and skills, to improve our borough. This can be the 'glue' that holds us together; as without this our community can stagnate and we can feel isolated.

One date in my diary is Saturday 29th June, when a family open day takes place at Suntrap Forest Centre, an educational centre for local schools. Suntrap is closing shortly for a major refurbishment and there’ll be an auction of artefacts and mementos that will no longer be needed when the centre reopens next year. I’ve got my eye on one of the wooden stools that I could have potentially precariously tipped back on at a class visit many years ago.

The value of memorabilia such as a well-worn chair lies in the stories and experiences that they preserve. In September my dog Busta will be entered into the annual dog show as part of The Picnic in the Park, in Highams Park, and maybe again this year we’ll have a rosette that I can proudly put on show!