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  • Writer's pictureMaggie Davies

We All Need Light in our Lives

Born in Newcastle, and the daughter of a Northumbrian and a Scot, my heart has always been drawn to the North. When living and working in California, I shed a tear in Union Square, San Francisco, when I heard the skirl of the pipes and saw a young man in a kilt rendering The Flowers of Scotland.

Which explains why young Grace Darling was always a heroine of mine (see my post of the 5th October) and her rugged part of the north-east coast familiar to me from my youth.

(Bothal Castle, Northumberland)

My mother's family, the Richells, not only came from Bothall and Ashington, but were long-time friends with members of the Darling family. I grew up on the story that my great-grandfather, Samuel, was gifted a pair of pewter candlesticks said to have been in use in the Longstone Lighthouse at the time of the wreck of the Forfarshire. They have been handed down from eldest child to eldest child ever since as local history treasures.

Having acquired them from my late mother, and with no children of my own, I have offered them to the Grace Darling Museum and am waiting to see if the Museum Curator considers them sufficiently authentic. There is no written evidence that they are genuine, but they are of the right era, appear modestly appropriate for use by a lighthouse keeper and his family, and have been revered by the Richells for somewhere in the region of 170 years.

Provenance is all, of course, so we shall see what happens after the lock-down.

My life-long interest in Grace Darling's heroic feat might explain my attraction to the stories of strong women and my link with the north-east is reflected in my choice of author name: Maggie Richell-Davies.

We are living in difficult days. Stay strong, and try to shine some light into those in our circle - and beyond - who may be in need of it.

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